(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The trimmed lamp : and other stories of the four millions"

Google 



This is a digital copy of a book lhal w;ls preserved for general ions on library shelves before il was carefully scanned by Google as pari of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

Il has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one thai was never subject 

to copy right or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often dillicull lo discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher lo a library and linally lo you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud lo partner with libraries lo digili/e public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order lo keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial panics, including placing Icchnical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make n on -commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request thai you use these files for 
personal, non -commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort lo Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each lile is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use. remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 

countries. Whether a book is slill in copyright varies from country lo country, and we can'l offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through I lie lull lexl of 1 1 us book on I lie web 
al |_-.:. :.-.-:: / / books . qooqle . com/| 




Mrs.H»nry C.Aduu 




her aortitis the counter with a King Coplirtua a 



THE 

Trimmed Lamp 

AND OTHER STORIES OF 
THE FOUR MILLION 

* O. HENRY ^u/«x, 

Author of Cabbages and Kings, The Four Million, etc. 




» » • • 



Frontispiece by Alice Barber Stephens 



NEW YORK 

McCLURE, PHILLIPS & CO- 

MCMVH 



J 



Copyright, 1907, by McClure, Phillips & Co. 
Published April, 1907 



• ■ » • 



• • 



Copyright, 1906, by Hie 8. 8. McClure Co. 




t 

CuLdtdc. CONTENTS 



PAGE 

—The Trimmed Lamp 3 

^ A Madison Square Arabian Night 22 

The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Highball 32 

The Pendulum 42 

Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen 50 

The Assessor op Success 59 

The Buyer from Cactus City 70 

The Badge of Policeman O'Roon 81 

Brickdust Row 89 

- The Making of a New Yorker 102 

Vanity and Some Sables Ill 

~^The Social Triangle 121 

^The Purple Dress 130 

"—The Foreign Policy of Company 99. .... . 139 

— The Lost Blend 150 

^ A Harlem Tragedy 159 

"The Guilty Party" — An East Side Tragedy . 169 

According to Their Lights . 179 

A Midsummer Knight's Dream 189 

The Last Leaf 198 

The Count and the Wedding Guest 209 

The Country of Elusion 219 

The Ferry of Unfulfilment 233 

The Tale of a Tainted Tenner . . . . : o 240 

Elsie in New York 249 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

OF course there are two sides to the question. Let us 
look at the other. We often hear " shop-girls " 
spoken of. No such persons exist* There are girls 
who work in shops* -They make their living that way. 
But why turn their occupation into an adjective? 
Let us be fair. We do not refer to the girls who live 
on Fifth Avenue as " marriage-girls." 

Lou and Nancy were chums. They came to the big 
city to find work because there was not enough to eat 
at their homes to go around. Nancy was nineteen; 
Lou was twenty. Both were pretty, active, country 
girls who had no ambition to go on the stage. 

The little cherub that sits up aloft guided them to 
a cheap and respectable boarding-house. Both found 
positions and became wage-earners. They remained 
chums. It is at the end of six months that I would 
beg you to step forward and be introduced to them. 
Meddlesome Reader: My Lady friends, Miss Nancy 
and Miss Lou. While you are shaking hands please 
take notice — cautiously — of their attire. Yes, 
cautiously ; for they are as quick to resent a stare as 
a lady in a box at the horse show is. 

Lou is a piece-work ironer in a hand laundry. She 

[3] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

is clothed in a badly-fitting purple dress, and her hat 
plume is four inches too long; but her ermine muff 
and scarf cost($£5, and its fellow beasts will be ticketed 
in the windows at $7.98 before the season is over. Her 
cheeks are pink, and her light blue eyes bright. Con- 
tentment radiates from her. 

Nancy you would call a shop-girl — because you 
have the habit. There is no type ; but a perverse gen- 
eration is always seeking a type; so this is what the 
type should be. She has the high-ratted pompadour, 
and the exaggerated straight-front. Her skirt is 
shoddy, but has the correct flare. No furs protect 
her against the bitter spring air, but she wears her 
short broadcloth jacket as jauntily as though it were 
Persian lamb! On her face and in her eyes, remorse- 
less type-seeker, is the typical shop-girl expression. 
It is a look of silent but contemptuous revolt against 
cheated womanhood; of sad prophecy of the ven- 
geance to come. When she laughs her loudest the 
look is still there. The same look can be seen in the 
eyes of Russian peasants ; and those of us left will see 
it some day on Gabriel's face when he comes to blow 
us up. It is a look that should wither and abash man ; 
but he has been known to smirk at it and offer flowers 
— with a string tied to them* 

Now lift your hat and come away, while you re- 
ceive Lou's cheery " See you again," and the sardonic, 
sweet smile of Nancy that seems, somehow, to miss you 

M 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

and go fluttering like a white moth up over the house- 
tops to the stars. 

The two waited on the corner for Dan. Dan was 
Lou's steady company. Faithful? Well he was on 
hand when Mary would have had to hire a dozen sub- 
poena servers to find her lamb. 

" Ain't you bold, Nance? " said Lou. u Say, what 
a chump you are for working in that old store for $8. 
a week ! I made $18.50 last week. Of course ironing 
ain't as swell work as selling lace behind a counter, but 
it pays. None of us ironers make less than $10. 
And I don't know that it's any less respectful work, 
either." 

" You can have it," said Nancy, with uplifted nose. 
" I'll take my eight a week and hall bedroom. I like 
to be among nice things and swell people. And look, 
what a chance I've got ! Why, one of our glove girls 
married a Pittsburg — steel maker, or blacksmith or 
something — the other day worth a million dollars. 
I'll catch a swell myself some time. I ain't bragging 
on my looks or anything; but I'll take my chances 
where there's big prizes offered. What show would 
a girl have in a laundry? " 

" Why, that's where I met Dan," said Lou, tri- 
umphantly; " He came in for his Sunday shirt and 
collars and saw me at the first board, ironing. We 
all try, to get to work at the first board. Ella Magin- 
nis was sick that day^ and I had her place. He said 

[«] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

he noticed my arms first, how round and white they 
was. I had my sleeves rolled up. Some nice fellows 
come into laundries. You can tell 'em by their bring- 
ing their clothes in suit cases, and turning in the door 
sharp and sudden." 

" How can you wear a waist like that, Lou? " said 
Nancy gazing down at the offending article with sweet 
scorn in her heavy-lidded eyes. " It shows fierce 
taste." 

" This waist? " cried Lou, with wide-eyed indigna- 
tion. " Why, I paid $16. for this waist. It's worth 
twenty-five. A woman left it to be laundered, and 
never called for it. The boss sold it to me. It's got 
yards and yards of hand embroidery on it. Better 
talk about that ugly, plain thing you've got on." 

" This ugly, plain thing," said Nancy, calmly, 
" was copied from one that Mrs. Van Alstyne Fisher 
was wearing. The girls say her bill in the store last 
year was $12,000. I made mine, myself. It cost 
me $1.50. Ten feet away you couldn't tell it from 
hers." 

" Oh, well," said Lou, good-naturedly, " if you 
want to starve and put on airs, go ahead. But I'll 
take my job and good wages; and after hours give 
me something as fancy and attractive to wear as I am 
able to buy." 

But just then Dan came — a serious young man 
with a ready-made necktie, who had escaped the city's 

[6] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

brand of frivolity — an electrician earning $80. per 
week who looked upon Lou with the sad eyes of 
Romeo, and thought her embroidered waist a web in 
which any fly should delight to be caught. 

" My friend, Mr. Owens — shake hands with Miss 
Danforth," said Lou. 

66 I'm mighty .glad to know you, Miss Danforth," 
said Dan, with outstretched hand. " I've heard Lou 
speak of you so often." 

*' Thanks," said Nancy, touching his fingers with 
the tips of her cool ones, " I've heard her mention you 
— a few times." 

Lou giggled. 

" Did you get that handshake from Mrs. Van Als- 
tyne Fisher, Nance? " she asked. 

" If I did, you can feel safe in copying it," said 
Nancy. 

" Oh, I couldn't use it at alL It's too stylish for 
me. It's intended to set off diamond rings, that high 
shake is. Wait till I get a few and then I'll try it." 

" Learn it first," said Nancy wisely, " and you'll be 
more likely to get the rings." 

" Now, to settle this argument," said Dan, with his 
ready, cheerful smile, " let me make a proposition. 
As I can't take both of you up to Tiffany's and do the 
right thing, what do you say to a little vaudeville? 
I've got the tickets. How about looking at stage dia- 



[7] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

monds since we can't shake hands with the real spark- 
lers?" 

The faithful squire took his place close to the curb; 
Lou next, a little peacocky in her bright and pretty 
clothes; Nancy on the inside, slender, and soberly 
clothed as the sparrow, but with the true Van Alstyne 
Fisher walk — thus they set out for their evening's 
moderate diversion. 

I do not suppose that many look upon a great de- 
partment store as an educational institution. But the 
one in which Nancy worked was something like that to 
her. She was surrounded by beautiful things that 
breathed of taste and refinement. If you live in an 
atmosphere of luxury, luxury is yours whether your 
money pays for it, or another's. 

The people she served were mostly women whose 
dress, manners, and position in the social world were 
quoted as criterions. From them Nancy began to take 
toll — the best from each according to her view. 

From one she would copy and practice a gesture, 
from another an eloquent lifting of an eyebrow, from 
others, a manner of walking, of carrying a purse, of 
smiling, of greeting a friend, of addressing " inferiors 
in station." From her best beloved model, Mrs. Van 
Alstyne Fisher, she made requisition for that excellent 
thing, a soft, low voice as clear as silver and as per- 
fect in articulation as the notes of a thrush. Suffused 
in the aura of this high social refinement and good 

[8] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

breeding, it was impossible for her to escape a deeper 
effect of it. As good habits are said to be better than 
good principles, so, perhaps, good manners are better 
than good habits. The teachings of your parents 
may not keep alive your New England conscience ; but 
if you sit on a straight-back chair and repeat the 
words " prisms and pilgrims " forty times the devil 
will flee from you. And when Nancy spoke in the Van 
Alstyne Fisher tones she felt the thrill of noblesse 
oblige to her very bones. 

There was another source of learning in the great 
departmental school. Whenever you see three or four 
shop-girls gather in a bunch and jingle their wire 
bracelets as an accompaniment to apparently frivolous 
conversation, do not think that they are there for the 
purpose of critizing the way Ethel does her back hair. 
The meeting may lack the dignity of the deliberative 
bodies of man; but it has all the importance of the 
occasion on which Eve and her first daughter first put 
their heads together to make Adam understand his 
proper place in the household. It is Woman's Con- 
ference for Common Defense and Exchange of Strat- 
egical Theories of Attack and Repulse upon and 
against the World, which is a Stage, and Man, its 
Audience who Persists in Throwing Bouquets There- 
upon. Woman, the most helpless of the young 
of any animal — - with the fawn's grace but without its 
fleetness ; with the bird's beauty but without its power 

[9] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

of flight ; with the honey-b§£'s burden of sweetness but 
without its — Oh, let's drop that simile — some of us 
may have been stung. 

During this council of war they pass weapons one 
to another, and exchange stratagems that each has 
devised and formulated out of the tactics of life. 

" I says to Mm," says Sadie, " ain't you the fresh 
thing! Who do you suppose I am, to be addressing 
such a remark to me? And what do you think he says 
back to me? " 

The heads, brown, black, flaxen, red, and yellow 
bob together; the answer is given; and the parry to 
the thrust is decided upon, to be used by each there- 
after in passages-at-arms with the common enemy, 
man. 

Thus Nancy learned the art of defense; and to 
women successful defense means victory. 

The curriculum of a department store is a wide one. 
Perhaps no other college could have fitted her as well 
for her life's ambition — the drawing of a matrimo- 
nial prize. 

Her station in the store was a favored one. The 
music room was near enough for her to hear and be- 
come familiar with the works of the best composers — 
at least to acquire the familiarity that passed for ap- 
preciation in the social world in which she was vaguely 
trying to set a tentative and aspiring foot. She ab- 
sorbed the educating influence of art wares, of costly 

[10] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

and dainty fabrics, of adornments that are almost cul- 
ture to women. 

The other girls soon became aware of Nancy's am- 
bition. " Here comes your millionaire, Nance," they 
would call to her whenever any man who looked the 
role approached her counter. It got to be a habit of 
men, who were hanging about while their women folk 
were shopping, to stroll over to the handkerchief coun- 
ter and dawdle over the cambric squares. Nancy's 
imitation high-bred air and genuine dainty beauty 
was what attracted. Many men thus came to display 
their graces before her. Some of them may have been 
millionaires; others were certainly no more than their 
sedulous apes. Nancy learned to discriminate. There 
was a window at the end of the handkerchief counter ; 
and she could see the rows of vehicles waiting for the 
shoppers in the street below. She looked, and per- 
ceived that automobiles differ as well as do their own- 
ers. 

Once a fascinating gentleman bought four dozen 
handkerchiefs, and wooed her across the counter with 
a King Cophetua air. When he had gone one of the 
girls said : 

" What's wrong, Nance, that you didn't warm up 
to that fellow? He looks the swell article, all right, 
to me." 

"Him?" said Nancy, with her coolest, sweetest, 
most impersonal, Van Alstyne Fisher smile ; " not for 

en] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

mine. I saw him drive up outside. A 12 H. P. ma- 
chine and an Irish chauffeur! And you saw what 
kind of handkerchiefs he bought — silk! And he's 
got dactylis on him. Give me the real thing or noth- 
ing, if you please." 

Two of the most " refined " women in the store — 
a f orelady and a cashier — had a few " swell gentle- 
men friends " with whom they now and then dined. 
Once they included Nancy in an invitation. The din- 
ner took place in a spectacular cafe whose tables are 
engaged for New Year's eve a year in advance. There 
were two " gentlemen friends " — one without any 
hair on his head — high living ungrew it ; and we can 
prove it — the other a young man whose worth and 
sophistication he impressed upon you in two convinc- 
ing ways — he swore that all the wine was corked ; and 
he wore diamond cuff bottons. This young man per- 
ceived irresistible excellencies in Nancy. His taste ran 
to shop-girls; and here was one that added the voice 
and manners of his high social world to the franker 
charms of her own caste. So, on the following day, 
he appeared in the store and made her a serious pro- 
posal of marriage over a box of hemstitched, grass- 
bleached Irish linens. Nancy declined. A brown 
pompadour ten feet away had been using her eyes and 
ears. When the rejected suitor had gone she heaped 
carboys of upbraidings and horror upon Nancy's head. 

" What a terrible little fool you are ! That fellow's 

[18] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

a millionaire — he's a nephew of old Van Skittles him- 
self. And he was talking on the level, too. Have 
you gone crazy, Nance? " 

" Have I? " said Nancy. " I didn't take him, did 
I? He isn't a millionaire so hard that you could no- 
tice it, anyhow. His family only allows him $20,000 
a year to spend. The bald-headed fellow was guying 
him about it the other night at supper." 

The brown pompadour came nearer and narrowed 
her eyes. 

" Say, what do you want? " she inquired, in a voice 
hc^£sefoiJ^ckof chewing-gum. " Ain't that enough 
for you? Do you wanFte^Ge a Mormon, and marry 
Rockefeller and Gladstone Dowie and the King of 
Spain and the whole bunch? Ain't $20,000 a year 
good enough for you? " 

Nancy flushed a little under the level gaze of the 
black, shallow eyes. 

" It wasn't altogether the money, Carrie," she ex- 
plained. " His friend caught him in a rank lie the 
other night at dinner. It was about some girl he said 
he hadn't been to the theater with. Well, I can't stand 
a liar. Put everything together — I don't like him ; 
and that settles it. When I sell out it's not going to 
be on any bargain day. I've got to have something 
that sits up in a chair like a man, anyhow. Yes, I'm 
looking out for a catch; but it's got to be able to do 
something more than make a noise like a toy bank." 

[18] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" The physiopathic ward for yours ! " said the 
brown pompadour, walking away. 

These high ideas, if not ideals — Nancy continued 
to cultivate on $8. per week. She bivouacked on the 
trail of the great unknown " catch," eating her dry 
bread and tightening her belt day by day. On her 
face was the faint, soldierly, sweet, grim smile of the 
preordained man-hunter. The store was her forest; 
and many times she raised her rifle at game that seemed 
broad-an tiered and big; but always some deep uner- 
ring instinct — perhaps of the huntress, perhaps of 
the woman — made her hold her fire and take up the 
trail again. 

Lou flourished in the laundry. Out of her $18.50 
per week she paid $6. for her room and board. The 
rest went mainly for clothes. Her opportunities for 
bettering her taste and manners were few compared 
with Nancy's. In the steaming laundry there was 
nothing but work, work and her thoughts of the even- 
ing pleasures to come. Many costly and showy 
fabrics passed under her iron ; and it may be that her 
growing fondness for dress was thus transmitted to 
her through the conducting metal. 

When the day's work was over Dan awaited her 
outside, her faithful shadow in whatever light she 
stood. 

Sometimes he cast an honest and troubled glance 
at Lou's clothes that increased in conspicuity rather 

[14] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

than in style ; but this was no disloyalty ; he deprecated 
the attention they called to her in the streets. 

And Lou was no less faithful to her chum. There 
was a law that Nancy should go with them on what- 
soever outings they might take. Dan bore the extra 
burden heartily and in good cheer. It might be said 
that Lou furnished the color, Nancy the tone, and Dan 
the weight of the distraction-seeking trio. The escort, 
in his neat but obviously ready-made suit, his ready- 
made tie and unfailing, genial, ready-made wit never 
startled or clashed. He was of that good kind that 
you are likely to forget while they are present, but 
remember distinctly after they are gone. 

To Nancy's superior taste the flavor of these ready- 
made pleasures was sometimes a little bitter: but she 
was young ; and youth is a gourmand, when it cannot 
be a gourmet. 

" Dan is always wanting me to marry him right 
away," Lou told her once. " But why should I. I'm 
independent. I can do as I please with the money I 
earn; and he never would agree for me to keep on 
working afterward. And say, Nance, what do you 
want to stick to that old store for, and half starve and 
half dress yourself? I could get you a place in the 
laundry right now if you'd come. It seems to me 
that you could afford to be a little less stuck-up if 
you could make a good deal more money." 

"I don't think I'm stuck-up, Lou," said Nfcncy, 

[15] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" but I'd rather live on half rations and stay where I 
am. I suppose I've got the habit. It's the chance 
that I want. I don't expect to be always behind a 
counter. I'm learning something new every day. I'm 
right up against refined and rich people all the time 
— even if I do only wait on them ; and I'm not missing 
any pointers that I see passing around." 

"Caught your millionaire yet?" asked Lou with 
her teasing laugh. 

" I haven't selected one yet," answered Nancy. 
" I've been looking them over." 

" Goodness ! the idea of picking over 'em ! Don't 
you ever let one get by you Nance — even if he's a few 
dollars shy. But of course you're joking — million- 
aires don't think about working girls like us." 

" It might be better for them if they did," said 
Nancy, with cool wisdom. " Some of us could teach 
them how to take care of their money." 

" If one was to speak to me," laughed Lou, " I 
know I'd have a duck-fit." 

" That's because you don't know any. The only 
difference between swells and other people is you have 
to watch 'em closer. Don't you think that red silk 
lining is just a little bit too bright for that coat, 
Lou?" 

Lou looked at the plain, dull olive jacket of her 
friend. 



[16] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

** Wefl, no I don't — but it may seem so beside that 
faded-looking thing you've got on." 

" This jacket," said Nancy, complacently, " has ex- 
actly the cut and fit of one that Mrs. Van Alstyne 
Fisher was wearing the other day. The material cost y 
me $3.98. I suppose hers cost about $100. more." 

" Oh, well," said Lou lightly, " it don't strike me 
as millionaire bait. Shouldn't wonder if I catch one 
before you do, anyway." 

Truly it would have taken a philosopher to decide 
upon the values of the theories held by the two friends. 
Lou, lacking that certain pride and fastidiousness that 
keeps stores and desks filled with girls working for the 
barest living, thumped away gaily with her iron in 
the noisy and stifling laundry. Her wages supported 
her even beyond the point of comfort ; so that her dress 
profited until sometimes she cast a sidelong glance of 
impatience at the neat but inelegant apparel of Dan 
— Dan the constant, the immutable, the undeviating. 

As for Nancy, her case was one of tens of thou- 
sands. Silk and jewels and laces and ornaments and 
the perfume and music of the fine world of good-breed- 
ing and taste — these were made for woman ; they are 
her equitable portion. Let her keep near them if they 
are a part of life to her, and if she will. She is no 
traitor to herself, as Esau was ; for she keeps her birth- 
right and the pottage she earns is often very scant. 

In this atmosphere Nancy belonged ; and she throve 

[17] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

in it and ate her frugal meals and schemed over her 
cheap dresses with a determined and contented mind. 
She already knew woman; and she was studying man, 
the animal, both as to his habits and eligibility. Some 
day she would bring down the game that she wanted ; 
but she promised herself it would be what seemed to 
her the biggest and the best, and nothing smaller. 

Thus she kept her lamp trimmed and burning to 
receive the bridegroom when he should come. 

But, another lesson she learned, perhaps uncon- 
sciously. Her standard of values began to shift and 
change. Sometimes the dollar-mark grew blurred in 
her mind's eye, and shaped itself into letters that 
spelled such words as " truth " and " honor " and 
now and then just " kindness." Let us make a like- 
ness of one who hunts the mbose or elk in some mighty 
wood. He sees a little dell, mossy and embowered, 
where a rill trickles, babbling to him of rest and com- 
fort. At these times the spear of Nimrod himself 
grows blunt. 

So, Nancy wondered sometimes if Persian lamb was 
always quoted at its market value by the hearts that 
it covered. 

One Thursday evening Nancy left the store and 
turned across Sixth Avenue westward to the laundry. 
She was expected to go with Lou and Dan to a musical 
comedy. 

Dan was just coming out of the laundry when she 

[18] 




THE TRIMMED LAMP 

ived. There was a queer, strained look on his face. 

" I thought I would drop around to see if they had 
heard from her," he said. 

"Heard from who?* 5 asked Nancy. "Isn't Lou 
there?" 

" I thought you knew," said Dan. " She hasn't 
been here or at the house where she lived since Monday. 
She moved all her things from there. She told one 
of the girls in the laundry she might be going to 
Europe." 

"Hasn't anybody seen her anywhere?" asked 
Nancy. 

Dan looked at her with his jaws set grimly, and a 
steely gleam in his steady gray eyes. 

" They told me in the laundry," he said, harshly, 
" that they saw her pass yesterday — in an automo- 
bile. With one of the millionaires, I suppose, that 
you and Lou were forever busying your brains about." 

For the first time Nancy quailed before a man. 
She laid her hand that trembled slightly on Dan's 
sleeve. 

" You've no right to say such a thing to me Dan 
— as if I had anything to do with it ! " 

" I didn't mean it that way," said Dan, softening. 
He fumbled in his vest pocket. 

" I've got the tickets for the show to-night," he 
said, with a gallant show of lightness. " If you — ! 
Nancy admired pluck whenever she saw it. 

[19] 



99 



♦THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" Pll go with you, Dan," she said. 

Three months went by before Nancy saw Lou again. 

At twilight one evening the shop-girl was hurrying 
home along the border of a little quiet park. She 
heard her name called, and wheeled about in time to 
catch Lou rushing into her arms. 

After the first embrace they drew their heads back 
as serpents do, ready to attack or to charm, with a 
thousand questions trembling on their swift tongues. 
And then Nancy noticed that prosperity had descended 
upon Lou, manifesting itself in costly furs, flashing 
gems, and creations of the tailors 9 art. 

" You little fool ! " cried Lou, loudly and affec- 
tionately. " I see you are still working in that store, 
and as shabby as ever. And how about that big 
catch you were going to make — nothing doing yet, 
I suppose? " 

And then Lou looked, and saw that something bet- 
ter than prosperity had descended upon Nancy — 
something that shone brighter than gems in her eyes 
and redder than a rose in her cheeks, and that danced 
like electricity anxious to be loosed from the tip of 
her tongue. 

" Yes, I'm still in the store," said Nancy, " but I'm 
going to leave it next week. I've made my catch — 
the biggest catch in the world. You won't mind now 
Lou, will you? — Pm going to be married to Dan — 
to Dan ! — he'<s my Dan now — why, Lou ! " 

[20] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

Around the corner of the park strolled one of those 
new-crop, smooth-faced young policemen that are mak- 
ing the force more endurable — at least to the eye. 
He saw a woman with an expensive fur coat and dia- 
mond-ringed hands crouching down against the iron 
fence of the park sobbing turbulently, while a slender, 
plainly-dressed working girl leaned close, trying to 
console her. But the Gibsonian cop, being of the new 
order, passed on, pretending not to notice, for he was 
wise enough to know that these matters are beyond 
help, so far as the power he represents is concerned, 
though he rap the pavement with his nightstick till the 
sound goes up to the furthermost stars. 



[21] 



A MADISON SQUARE ARABIAN NIGHT 

TO Carson Chalmers, in his apartment near the 
square, Phillips brought the evening mail. Besides 
the routine correspondence there were two items bear- 
ing the same foreign postmark, 

One of the incoming parcels contained a photograph 
of a woman. The other contained an interminable 
letter, over which Chalmers hung, absorbed, for a long 
time. The letter was from another woman; and it 
contained poisoned barbs, sweetly dipped in honey, and 
feathered with innuendoes concerning the photo- 
graphed woman. 

Chalmers tore this letter into a thousand bits and 
began to wear out his expensive rug by striding back 
and forth upon it. Thus an animal from the jungle 
acts when it is caged, and thus a caged man acts when 
he is housed In a jungle of doubt. 

By and by the restless mood was overcome. The 
rug was not an enchanted one. For sixteen feet he 
could travel along it; three thousand miles was beyond 
its power to aid. 

Phillips appeared. He never entered ; he invariably 
appeared, like a well-oiled genie. 

" Will you dine here, sir, or out? " he asked. 



A MADISON SQUARE ARABIAN NIGHT 

" Here," said Chalmers, " and in half an hour." 
He listened glumly to the January blasts making an 
Aeolian trombone of the empty street. 

" Wait," he said to the disappearing genie. " As 
I came home across the end of the square I saw many 
men standing there in rows. There was one mounted 
upon something, talking. Why do those men stand 
in rows, and why are they there? " 

" They are homeless men, sir," said Phillips. " The 
man standing on the box tries to get lodging for 
them for the night. People come around to listen 
and give him money. Then he sends as many as the 
money will pay for to some lodging-house. That is 
why they stand in rows ; they get sent to bed in order 
as they come." 

" By the time dinner is served," said Chalmers, 
" have one of those men here. He will dine with me." 

" W-w-which — ," began Phillips, stammering for 
the first time during his service. 

" Choose one at random," said Chalmers. " You 
might see that he is reasonably sober — and a certain 
amount of cleanliness will not be held against him. 
That is all." 

It was an unusual thing for Carson Chalmers to 
play the Caliph* But on that night he felt the in- 
efficacy of conventional antidotes to melancholy. 
Something wanton and egregious, something high- 

[28] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

flavored and Arabian, he must have to lighten his 
mood. 

On the half hour Phillips had finished his duties as 
slave of the lamp. The waiters from the restaurant 
below had whisked aloft the delectable dinner. The 
dining table, laid for two, glowed cheerily in the glow 
of the pink-shaded candles. 

And now Phillips, as though he ushered a cardinal 
— or held in charge a burglar — wafted in the shiv- 
ering guest who had been haled from the line of mendi- 
cant lodgers. 

It is a common thing to call such men wrecks; if 
the comparison be used here it is the specific one of 
a derelict come to grief through fire. Even yet some 
flickering combustion illuminated the drifting hulk. 
His face and hands had been recently washed — a rite 
insisted upon by Phillips as a memorial to the slaugh- 
tered conventions. In the candle-light he stood, a 
flaw in the decorous fittings of the apartment. His 
face was a sickly white, covered almost to the eyes with 
a stubble the shade of a red Irish setter's coat. Phil- 
lips's comb had failed to control the pale brown hair, 
long matted and conformed to the contour of a con- 
stantly worn hat. His eyes were full of a hopeless, 
tricky defiance like that seen in a cur's that is cornered 
by his tormentors. His shabby coat was buttoned 
high, but a quarter inch of redeeming collar showed 
above it. His manner was singularly free from em- 



A MADISON SQUARE ARABIAN NIGHT 

barrassment when Chalmers rose from his chair across 
the round dining table. 

" If you will oblige me," said the host, " I will be 
glad to have your company at dinner." 

" My name is Plumer," said the highway guest, in 
harsh and aggressive tones. " If you're like me, you 
like to know the name of the party you're dining 
with." 

" I was going on to say," continued Chalmers some- 
what hastily, "that mine is Chalmers. Will you sit 
opposite? " 

Plumer, of the ruffled plumes, bent his knees for 
Phillips to slide the chair beneath him. He had an 
' air of having sat at attended boards before. Phillips 
set out the anchovies and olives. 

" Good ! " barked Plumer ; " Going to be in courses, 
it it? All right, my jovial ruler of Bagdad. I'm 
your Scheherezade all the way to the toothpicks. 
You're the first Caliph with a genuine Oriental flavor 
I've struck since frost. What luck! And I was 
forty-third in line. I finished counting just as your 
welcome emissary arrived to bid me to the feast. I 
had about as much chance of getting a bed to-night as 
I have of being the next President. How will you 
have the sad story of my life, Mr. Al Raschid — a 
chapter with each course or the whole edition with the 
cigars and coffee? " 



[85] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" The situation does not seem a novel one to you," 
said Chalmers with a smile. 

" By the chin whiskers of the prophet — no ! " an- 
swered the guest. " New York's as full of cheap 
Haroun al Raschids as Bagdad is of fleas. I've been 
held up for my story with a loaded meal pointed at 
my head twenty times. Catch anybody in New York 
giving you something for nothing! They spell curi- 
osity and charity with the same set of building blocks. 
Lots of 'em will stake you to a dime and chop-suey ; 
and a few of 'em will play Caliph to the tune of a top 
sirloin; but every one of 'em will stand over you till 
they screw your autobiography out of you with foot 
notes, appendix and unpublished fragments. Oh, I 
know what to do when I see victuals coming toward 
me in little old Bagdad-on-the-Subway. I strike the 
asphalt three times with my forehead and get ready 
to spiel yarns for my supper. I claim descent from 
the late Tommy Tucker, who was forced to hand out 
vocal harmony for his pre-digested wheaterina and 



u." 



" I do not ^sk ynur story," said Chalmers. " I tell 
you frankly that it was a sudden whim that prompted 
me to send for some stranger to dine with me. I as- 
sure you you will not suffer through any curiosity of 



mine." 



« 



Oh, fudge! " exclaimed the guest, enthusiastically 
tackling his soup ; " I don't mind it a bit. I'm a reg- 

[26] 



A MADISON SQUARE ARABIAN NIGHT 

ular Oriental magazine with a red cover and the leaves 
cut when the Caliph walks abroad. In fact, we fel- 
lows in the bed line have a sort of union rate for things 
of this sort. Somebody's always stopping and want- 
ing to know what brought us down so low in the 
world. For a sandwich and a glass of beer I tell 'em 
that drink did it. For corned beef and cabbage and 
a cup of coffee I give 'em the hard-hearted-landlord — 
six-months-in-the-hospital-lost-job story. A sirloin 
steak and a quarter for a bed gets the Wall Street 
tragedy of the swept-away fortune and the gradual 
descent. This is the first spread of this kind I've 
stumbled against. I haven't got a story to fit it. I'll 
tell you what, Mr. Chalmers, I'm going to tell you the 
truth for this, if you'll listen to it. It'll be harder 
for you to believe than the made-up ones." 

An hour later the Arabian guest lay back with a 
sigh of satisfaction while Phillips brought the coffee 
and cigars and cleared the table. 

" Did you ever hear of Sherrard Plumer? " he 
asked, with a strange smile. 

" I remember the name," said Chalmers. " He was 
a painter, I think, of a good deal of prominence a 
few years ago." 

" Five years," said the guest. " Then I went down 
like a chunk of lead. I'm Sherrard Plumer ! I sold 
the last portrait I painted for $2,000. After that I 
couldn't have found a sitter for a gratis picture." 

[27] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" What was the trouble? " Chalmers could not resist 
asking. 

" Funny thing," answered Plumer, grimly. 
" Never quite understood it myself. For a while I 
swam like a cork. I broke into the swell crowd and 
got commissions right and left. The newspapers 
called me a fashionable painter. Then the funny 
things began to happen. Whenever I finished a pic- 
ture people would come to see it, and whisper and look 
queerly at one another. 

" I soon found out what the trouble was. I had a 
knack of bringing out in the face of a portrait the 
hidden character of the original. I don't know how 
I did it — I painted what I saw — but I know it did 
me. Some of my sitters were fearfully enraged and 
refused their pictures. I painted the portrait of a 
very beautiful and popular society dame. When it 
was finished her husband looked at it with a peculiar 
expression on his face, and the next week he sued for 
divorce. 

Tr I remember one case of a prominent banker who 
sat to me. While I had his portrait on exhibition in 
my studio an acquaintance of his came in to look at 
it. * Bless me,' says he, ' does he really look like 
that?' I told him it was considered a faithful like- 
ness. * I never noticed that expression about his eyes 
before,' said he ; * I think I'll drop downtown and 
change my bank account.' He did drop down, but 

[28] 



V 



A MADISON SQUARE ARABIAN NIGHT 

* 

the bank account was gone and so was Mr. Banker. 

" It wasn't long till they put me out of business. 
People don't want their secret meannesses shown up in 
a picture. They can smile and twist their own faces 
and deceive you, but the picture can't. I couldn't get 
an order for another picture, and I had to give up. 
I worked as a newspaper artist for a while, and then 
for a lithographer, but my work with them got me into 
the same trouble. If I drew from a photograph my 
drawing showed up characteristics and expressions that 
you couldn't find in the photo, but I guess they were 
in the original, all right. The customers raised lively 
rows, especially the women, and I never could hold a 
job long. So I began to rest my weary head upon the 
breast of Old Booze for comfort. And pretty soon I 
was in the free-bed line and doing oral fiction for 
hand-outs among the food bazaars. Does the truthful 
statement weary thee, O Caliph? I can turn on the 
Wall Street disaster stop if you prefer, but that re- 
quires a tear, and I'm afraid I can't hustle one up 
after that good dinner." 

" No, no," said Chalmers, earnestly, " you interest 
me very much. Did all of your portraits reveal some 
unpleasant trait, or were there some that did not suffer 
from the ordeal of your peculiar brush? " 

" Some? Yes," said Plumer. " Children gener- 
ally, a good many women and a sufficient number of 
men. All people aren't bad, you know. When they 

[29] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

were all right the pictures were all right. As I said, 
I don't explain it, but I'm telling you facts." 

On Chalmer's writing-table lay the photograph that 
he had received that day in the foreign mail. Ten 
minutes later he had Plumber at work making a sketch 
from it in pastels. At the end of an hour the artist 
rose and stretched wearily. 

" It's done," he yawned. " You'll excuse me for 
being so long. I got interested in the job. Lordy! 
but I'm tired. No bed last night, you know. Guess 
it'll have to be good night now, O Commander of the 
Faithful ! " 

Chalmers went as far as the door with him and 
slipped some bills into his hand. 

" Oh! I'll take 'em," said Plumer. " All that's in- 
cluded in the fall. Thanks. And for the very good 
dinner. I shall sleep on feathers to-night and dream 
of Bagdad. I hope it won't turn out to be a dream 
in the morning. Farewell, most excellent Caliph ! " 

Again Chalmers paced restlessly upon his rug. But 
his beat lay as far from the table whereon lay the 
pastel sketch as the room would permit. Twice, thrice, 
he tried to approach it, but failed. He could see the 
dun and gold and brown of the colors, but there was 
a wall about it built by his fears that kept him at a 
distance. He sat down and tried to calm himself. 
He sprang up and rang for Phillips. 

" There is a young artist in this building," he said, 

[30] 



A MADISON SQUARE ARABIAN NIGHT 

" — a Mr. Reineman — do you know which is his 
apartment? " 

" Top floor, front, sir," said Phillips. 

" Go up and ask him to favor me with his presence 
here for a few minutes." 

Reineman came at once. Chalmers introduced him- 
self. 

" Mr. Reineman," said he, " there is a little pastel 
sketch on yonder table. I would be glad if you will 
give me your opinion of it as to its artistic merits and 
as a picture." 

The yoijng artist advanced to the table and took up 
the sketch. Chalmers half turned away, leaning upon 
the back of a chair. 

"How — do — you — find it?" he asked, slowly. 

" As a drawing," said the artist, " I can't praise it 
enough. It's the work of a master — bold and fine 
and true. It puzzles me a little; I haven't seen any 
pastel work near as good in years." 

" The face, man — the subject — the original — 
what would you say of that? " 

" The face," said Reineman, " is the face of one of 
God's own angels. May I ask who — " 

" My wife ! " shouted Chalmers, wheeling and 
pouncing upon the astonished artist,, gripping his hand 
and pounding his back. " She is traveling in Europe. 
Take that sketch, boy, and paint the picture of your 
life from it and leave the price to me." 

[31] 



THE RUBAIYAT OF A SCOTCH HIGHBALL 

1 HIS document is intended to strike somewhere be- 
tween a temperance lecture and the " Bartender's 
Guide." Relative to the latter, drink shall swell the 
theme and be set forth in abundance. Agreeably to 
the former, not an elbow shall be crooked. 

Bob Babbitt was " off the stuff." Which means — 
as you will discover by referring to the unabridged 
dictionary of Bohemia — that he had " cut out the 
booze ; " that he was " on the water wagon." The 
reason for Bob's sudden attitude of hostility toward 
the " demon rum " — as the white ribboners miscall 
whiskey (see the "Bartender's Guide" ), should be 
of interest to reformers and saloon-keepers. 

There is always hope for a man who, when sober, 
will not concede or acknowledge that he was ever drunk. 
But when a man will say (in the apt words of the 
phrase-distiller), " I had a beautiful skate on last 
night," you will have to put stuff in his coffee as well 
as pray for him. 

One evening on his way home Babbitt dropped in at 
the Broadway bar that he liked best. Always there 
were three or four fellows there from the downtown 
offices whom he knew. And then there would be high- 

[32] 



THE RUBAIYAT OF A SCOTCH HIGHBALL 

balls and stories, and he would hurry home to dinner 
a little late but feeling good, and a little sorry for the 
poor Standard Oil Company. On this evening as he 
entered he heard some one say : " Babbitt was in last 
night as full as a boiled owl." 

Babbitt walked to the bar, and saw in the mirror 
that his face was as white as chalk. For the first time 
he had looked Truth in the eyes. Others had lied to 
him; he had dissembled with himself. He was a 
drunkard, and had not known it. What he had 
fondly imagined was a pleasant exhilaration had been 
maudlin intoxication. His fancied wit had been 
drivel ; his gay humors nothing but the noisy vagaries 
of a sot. But, never again ! 

" A glass of seltzer," he said to the bartender. 

A little silence fell upon the group of his cronies, 
who had been expecting him to join them. 

"Going off the stuff, Bob?" one of them asked 
politely and with more formality than the highballs 
ever called forth. 

" Yes," said Babbitt. 

Some one of the group took up the unwashed thread 
of a story he had been telling; the bartender shoved 
over a dime and a nickel change from the quarter, un- 
garnished with his customary smile; and Babbitt 
walked out. 

Now, Babbitt had a home and a wife — but that is 
another story. And I will tell you that story, which 

[88] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

will show you a better habit and a worse story than 
you could find in the man who invented the phrase. 

It began away up in Sullivan County, where so 
many rivers and so much trouble begins — or begin ; 
how would you say that? It was July, and Jessie was 
a summer boarder at the Mountain Squint Hotel, and 
Bob, who was just out of college, saw her one day — 
and they were married in September. That's the 
tabloid novel — one swallow of water, and it's gone. 

But those July days ! 

Let the exclamation point expound it, for I shall 
not. For particulars you might read up on " Romeo 
and Juliet," and Abraham Lincoln's thrilling sonnet 
about " You can fool some of the people," &c, and 
Darwin's works. 

But one thing I must tell you about. Both of them 
were mad over Omar's Rubaiyat. They knew every 
verse of the old bluffer by heart — not consecutively, 
but picking 'em out here and there as you fork the 
mushrooms in a fifty-cent steak a la Bordelaise. Sul- 
livan County is full of rocks and trees ; and Jessie used 
to sit on them, and — please be good — used to sit on 
the rocks ; and Bob had a way of standing behind her 
with his hands over her shoulders holding her hands, 
and his face close to hers, and they would repeat over 
and over their favorite verses of the old tent-maker. 
They saw only the poetry and philosophy of the lines 
then — indeed, they agreed that the Wine was only 

[34] 



THE RUBAIYAT OF A SCOTCH HIGHBALL 

an image, and that what was meant to be celebrated 
was some divinity, or maybe Love or Life. However, 
at that time neither of them had tasted the stuff that 
goes with a sixty-cent table d'hote. 

Where was I? Oh, they married and came to New 
York. Bob showed his college diploma, and accepted 
a position filling inkstands in a lawyer's office at $15 
a week. At the end of two years he had worked up to 
$50, and gotten his first taste of Bohemia — the kind 
that won't stand the borax and formaldehyde t ests. . 

They had two furnished rooms and a little kitchen. 
To Jess, accustomed to the mild but beautiful savor of 
a country town, the dreggy Bohemia was sugar and 
spice. She hung fish seines on the walls of her rooms, 
and bought a rakish-looking sideboard, and learned to 
play the banjo. Twice or thrice a week they dined 
at French or Italian tables d'hote in a cloud of smoke, 
and brag and unshorn hair. Jess learned to drink a 
cocktail in order to get the cherry. At home she 
smoked a cigarette after dinner. She learned to pro- 
nounce Chianti, and leave her olive stones for the 
waiter to pick up. Once she essayed to say la, la, la ! 
in a crowd; but got only as far as the second one. 
They met one or two couples while dining out and 
became friendly with them. The sideboard was 
stocked with Scotch and rye and a liqueur. They had 
their new friends in to dinner and all were laughing 
at nothing by 1 A. M. Some plastering fell in the 

[85] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

room below them, for which Bob had to pay $4.50. 
Thus they footed it merrily on the ragged frontiers of 
the country that has no boundary lines or government. 

And soon Bob fell in with his cronies and learned 
to keep his foot on the little rail six inches above the 
floor for an hour or so every afternoon before he 
went home. Drink always rubbed him the right way, 
and he would reach his rooms as jolly as a sandboy. 
Jessie would meet him at the door, and generally they 
would dance some insane kind of a rigadoon about the 
floor by way of greeting. Once when Bob's feet be- 
came confused and he tumbled headlong over a foot- 
stool Jessie laughed so heartily and long that he had to 
throw all the couch pillows at her to make her hush. 

In such wise life was speeding for them on the day 
when Bob Babbitt first felt the power that the giftie 
gi'ed him. 

But let us get back to our lamb and mint sauce. 

When Bob got home that evening he found Jessie 
in a long apron cutting up a lobster for the Newburg. 
Usually when Bob came in mellow from his hour at the 
bar his welcome was hilarious, though somewhat tinc- 
tured with Scotch smoke. 

By screams and snatches of song and certain audible 
testimonials to domestic felicity was his advent pro- 
claimed. When she heard his foot on the stairs the 
old maid in the hall room always stuffed cotton into 
her ears. At first Jessie had shrunk from the rude- 

[36] 



THE RUBAIYAT OF A SCOTCH HIGH BALL 

ness and flavor of these spiritual greetings, but as the 
fog of the false Bohemia gradually encompassed her 
she came to accept them as love's true and proper 
greeting. 

Bob came in without a word, smiled, kissed her 
neatly but noiselessly, took up a paper and sat down. 
In the hall room the old maid held her two plugs of 
cotton poised, filled with anxiety. 

Jessie dropped lobster and knife and ran to him 
with frightened eyes. 

" What's the matter, Bob, are you ill? " 

" Not at all, dear." 

" Then what's the matter with you? " 

" Nothing." 

Hearken, brethren. When She-who-has-a-right-to- 
ask interrogates you concerning a change she finds in 
your mood answer her thus : Tell her that you, in a 
sudden rage, have murdered your grandmother; tell 
her that you have robbed orphans and that remorse 
has stricken you ; tell her your fortune is swept away ; 
that you are beset by enemies, by bunions, by any kind 
of malevolent fate ; but do not, if peace and happiness 
are worth as much as a grain of mustard seed to you 
— do not answer her " Nothing." 

Jessie went back to the lobster in silence. She cast 
looks of darkest suspicion at Bob. He had never 
acted that way before. 

[37] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

When dinner was on the table she set out the bottle 
of Scotch and the glasses. Bob declined. 

" Tell you the truth, Jess," he said. " I've cut out 
the drink. Help yourself, of course. If you don't 
mind I'll try some of the seltzer straight." 

" You've stopped drinking? " she said, looking at 
him steadily and unsmilingly. " What for? " 

" It wasn't doing me any good," said Bob. " Don't 
you approve of the idea? " 

Jessie raised her eyebrows and one shoulder slightly. 

" Entirely," she said with a sculptured smile. " I 
could not conscientiously advise any one to drink or 
smoke, or whistle on Sunday." 

The meal was finished almost in silence. Bob tried 
to make talk, but his efforts lacked the stimulus of 
previous evenings. He felt miserable, and once or 
twice his eye wandered toward the bottle, but each 
time the scatching words of his bibulous friend sounded 
in his ear, and his mouth set with determination. 

Jessie felt the change deeply. The essence of their 
lives seemed to have departed suddenly. The restless 
fever, the false gayety, the unnatural excitement of 
the shoddy Bohemia in which they had lived had 
dropped away in the space of the popping of a cork. 
She stole curious and forlorn glances at the dejected 
Bob, who bore the guilty look of at least a wife-beater 
or a family tyrant. 

After dinner the colored maid who came in daily 

[38] 



THE RUBAIYAT OF A SCOTCH HIGHBALL 

to perform such chores cleared away the things. 
Jessie, with as unreadable countenance, brought back 
the bottle of Scotch and the glasses and a bowl of 
cracked ice and set them on the table. 

" May I ask," she said, with some of the ice in her 
tones, " whether I am to be included in your sudden 
spasm of goodness? If not, I'll make one for myself. 
It's rather chilly this evening, for some reason." 

" Oh, come now, Jess," said Bob good-naturedly, 
" don't be too rough on me. Help yourself, by all 
means. There's no danger of your overdoing it. But 
I thought there was with me; and that's why I quit. 
Have yours, and then let's get out the banjo and try 
over that new quickstep." 

" I've heard," said Jessie in the tones of the oracle, 
" that drinking alone is a pernicious habit. No, I 
don't think I feel like playing this evening. If we are 
going to reform we may as well abandon the evil habit 
of banjo-playing, too." 

She took up a book and sat in her little willow 
rocker on the other side of the table. Neither of them 
spoke for half an hour. 

And then Bob laid down his paper and got up with 
a strange, absent look on his face and went behind her 
chair and reached over her shoulders, taking her hands 
in his, and laid his face close to hers. 

In a moment to Jessie the walls of the seine-hung 
room vanished, and she saw the Sullivan County hills 

[39] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

and rills. Bob felt her hands quiver in his as he be- 
gan the verse from old Omar: 

" Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring 
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling : 
The Bird of Time has but a little way 
To fly — and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing ! " 

And then he walked to the table and poured a stiff 
drink of Scotch into a glass. 

But in that moment a mountain breeze had some- 
how found its way in and blown away the mist of the 
false Bohemia. 

Jessie leaped and with one fierce sweep of her hand 
sent the bottle and glasses crashing to the floor. The 
same motion of her arm carried it around Bob's neck, 
where it met its mate and fastened tight. 

" Oh, my God, Bobbie — not that verse — I see 
now. I wasn't always such a fool, was I? The other 
one, boy — the one that says : ' Remould it to the 
Heart's Desire.' Say that one — ' to the Heart's 
Desire.' " 

" I know that one," said Bob. " It goes : 

" i Ah ! Love, could you and I with Him conspire 
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire 
Would not we—' " 

" Let me finish it," said Jessie. 

" ' Would not we shatter it to bits — and then 
Remould it nearer to the Heart's Desire ! ' " 

[40] 



THE RUBAIYAT OF A SCOTCH HIGHBALL 

" It's shattered all right," said Bob, crunching some 
glass under his heel. 

In some dungeon below the accurate ear of Mrs. 
Pickens, the landlady, located the smash. 

" It's that wild Mr. Babbitt coming home soused 
again," she said. " And he's got such a nice little 
wife, too ! " 



[41] 



THE PENDULUM 

''ElGHTY-FIRST Street — let 'em out, please," 
yelled the shepherd in blue. 

A flock of citizen sheep scrambled out and another 
flock scrambled aboard. Ding-ding! The cattle cars 
of the Manhattan Elevated rattled away, and John 
Perkins drifted down the stairway of the station with 
the released flock. 

John walked slowly toward his flat. Slowly, be- 
cause in the lexicon of his daily life there was no such 
word as " perhaps." There are no surprises awaiting 
a man who has been married two years and lives in a 
flat. As he walked John Perkins prophesied to him- 
self with gloomy and downtrodden cynicism the fore- 
gone conclusions of the monotonous day. 

Katy would meet him at the door with a kiss fla- 
vored with cold cream and butter-scotch. He would 
remove his coat, sit upon a macadamized lounge and 
read, in the evening paper, of Russians and Japs 
slaughtered by the deadly linotype. For dinner there 
would be pot roast, a salad flavored with a dressing 
warranted not to crack or injure* the leather, stewed 
rhubarb and the bottle of strawberry marmalade blush- 
ing at the certificate of chemical purity on its label. 



THE PENDULUM 

After dinner Katy would show him the new patch in 
her crazy quilt that the iceman had cut for her off the 
end of his four-in-hand. At half -past seven they 
would spread newspapers over the furniture to catch 
the pieces of plastering that fell when the fat man in 
the flat overhead began to take his physical culture 
exercises. Exactly at eight Hickey & Mooney, of 
the vaudeville team (unbooked) in the flat across 
the hall, would yield to the gentle influence of delirium 
tremens and begin to overturn chairs under the de- 
lusion that Hammerstein was pursuing them with a 
five-hundred-dollar-a-week contract. Then the gent 
at the window across the air-shaft would get out his 
flute ; the nightly gas leak would steal forth to frolic 
in the highways ; the dumbwaiter would slip off its 
trolley; the janitor would drive Mrs. Zanowitski's five 
children once more across the Yalu, the lady with the 
champagne shoes and the Skye terrier would trip 
downstairs and paste her Thursday name over her 
bell and letter-box — and the evening routine of the 
Frogmore flats would be under way. 

John Perkins knew these things would happen. 
And he knew that at a quarter past eight he would 
summon his nerve and reach for his hat, and that his 
wife would deliver this speech in a querulous tone : 

" Now, where are you going, Fd like to know, John 
Perkins? » 

" Thought Pd drop up to McCloskey's," he would 

[48] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

answer, " and play a game or two of pool with the 
fellows." 

Of late such had been John Perkin's habit. At 
ten or eleven he would return. Sometimes Katy would 
be asleep ; sometimes waiting up, ready to melt in the 
crucible of her ire a little more gold plating from the 
wrought steel chains of matrimony. For these things 
Cupid will have to answer when he stands at the bar 
of justice with his victims from the Frogmore flats. 

To-night John Perkins encountered a tremendous 
upheaval of the commonplace when he reached his 
door. No Katy was there with her affectionate, con- 
f ectionate kiss. The three rooms seemed in portentous 
disorder. All about lay her things in confusion. 
Shoes in the middle of the floor, curling tongs, hair 
bows, kimonos, powder box, jumbled together on 
dresser and chairs — this was not Katy's way. With 
a sinking heart John saw the comb with a curling 
cloud of her brown hair among its teeth. Some un- 
usual hurry and perturbation must have possessed 
her, for she always carefully placed these combings 
in the little blue vase on the mantel to be some day 
formed into the coveted feminine " rat." 

Hanging conspicuously to the gas jet by a string 
was a folded paper. John seized it. It was a note 
from his wife running thus : 



[44] 



THE PENDULUM 

u Dear John: I just had a telegram saying mother 
is very sick. I am going to take the J^.30 train. 
Brother Sam is going to meet me at the depot there. 
There is cold mutton in the ice box. I hope it isn 9 t 
her quinzy again. Pay the milkman 60 cents. She 
had it bad last spring. Don't forget to write to the 
company about the gas meter, and your good socks 
are in the top drawer. I will write to-morrow. 

Hastily, KATY." 

Never during their two years of matrimony had 
he and Katy been separated for a night. John read 
the note over and over in a dumfounded way. Here 
was a break in a routine that had never varied, and 
it left him dazed. 

There on the back of a chair hung, pathetically 
empty and formless, the red wrapper with black dots 
that she always wore while getting the meals. Her 
week-day clothes had been tossed here and there in 
her haste. A little paper bag of her favorite butter- 
scotch lay with its string yet unwound. A daily 
paper sprawled on the floor, gaping rectangularly 
where a railroad time-table had been clipped from it. 
Everything in the room spoke of a loss, of an essence 
gone, of its soul and life departed. John Perkins 
stood among the dead remains with a queer feeling of 
desolation in his heart. 

He began to set the rooms tidy as well as he could. 

[45] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

When he touched her clothes a thrill of something like 
terror went through him. He had never thought what 
existence would be without Katy. She had become so 
thoroughly annealed into his life that she was like the 
air he breathed — necessary but scarcely noticed. 
Now, without warning, she was gone, vanished, as 
completely absent as if she had never existed. Of 
course it would be only for a few days, or at most a 
week or two, but it seemed to him as if the very hand 
of death had pointed a finger at his secure and un- 
eventful home. 

John dragged the cold mutton from the ice-box, 
made coffee and sat down to a lonely meal face to face 
with the strawberry marmalade's shameless certificate 
of purity. Bright among withdrawn blessings now 
appeared to him the ghosts of pot roast and the salad 
with tan polish dressing. His home was dismantled. 
A quinzied mother-in-law had knocked his lares and 
penates sky-high. After his solitary meal John sat at 
a front window. 

He did not care to smoke. Outside the city roared 
to him to come join in its dance of folly and pleasure. 
The night was his. He might go forth unquestioned 
and thrum the strings of jollity as free as any gay 
bachelor there. He might carouse and wander and 
have his fling until dawn if he liked ; and there would 
be no wrathful Katy waiting for him, bearing the 
chalice that held the dregs of his. joy. He might 

[46] 



THE PENDULUM 

play pool at McCloskey's with his roistering friends 
until Aurora dimmed the electric bulbs if he chose. 
The hymeneal strings that had curbed him always 
when the Frogmore flats had palled upon him were 
loosened. Katy was gone. 

John Perkins was not accustomed to analyzing his 
emotions. But as he sat in his Katy-bereft 10x12 
parlor he hit unerringly upon the keynote of his dis- 
comfort. He knew now that Katy was necessary to 
his happiness. His feeling for her, lulled into uncon- 
sciousness by the dull round of domesticity, had been 
sharply stirred by the loss of her presence. Has it 
not been dinned into us by proverb and sermon and 
fable that we never prize the music till the sweet- 
voiced bird has flown — or in other no less florid and 
true utterances? 

" I'm a double-dyed dub," mused John Perkins, 
" the way I've been treating Katy. Off every night 
playing pool and bumming with the boys instead of 
staying home with her. The poor girl here all alone 
with nothing to amuse her, and me acting that way ! 
John Perkins, you're the worst kind of a shine. I'm 
going to make it up for the little girl. I'll take her 
out and let her see some amusement. And I'll cut out 
the McCloskey gang right from this minute." 

Yes, there was the city roaring outside for John 
Perkins to come dance in the train of Momus. And 
at McCloskey's the boys were knocking the balls idly 

[47] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

into the pockets against the hour for the nightly 
game. But no primrose way. nor clicking cue could 
woo the remorseful soul of Perkins the bereft. The 
thing that was his, lightly held and half scorned, had 
been taken away from him, and he wanted it. Back- 
ward to a certain man named Adam, whom the cheru- 
bim bounced from the orchard, could Perkins, the 
remorseful, trace his descent. 

Near the right hand of John Perkins stood a chair. 
On the back of it stood Katy's blue shirtwaist. It 
still retained something of her contour. Midway of 
the sleeves were fine, individual wrinkles made by 
the movements of her arms in working for his com- 
fort and pleasure. A delicate but impelling odor of 
bluebells came from it. John took it and looked long 
and soberly at the unresponsive grenadine. Katy had 
never been unresponsive. Tears : — yes, tears — came 
into John Perkins's eyes. When she came back things 
would be different. He would make up for all his 
neglect. What was life without her? 

The door opened. Katy walked in carrying a little 
hand satchel. John stared at her stupidly. 

" My ! Pm glad to get back," said Katy. " Ma 
wasn't sick to amount to anything. Sam was at the 
depot, and said she just had a little spell, and got 
all right soon after they telegraphed. So I took the 
next train back. I'm just dying for a cup of coffee." 

Nobody heard the click and the rattle of the cog- 

[48] 



THE PENDULUM 

wheels as the third-floor front of the Frogmore flats 
buzzed its machinery back into the Order of Things. 
A band slipped, a spring was touched, the gear was 
adjusted and the wheels revolved in their old orbits. 

John Perkins looked at the clock. It was 8.15. 
He reached for his hat and walked to the door. 

" Now, where are you going, I'd like to know, John 
Perkins? " asked Katy, in a querulous tone. 

" Thought I'd drop up to McCloskey's," said John, 
and play a game or two of pool with the fellows." 



« 



[49] 



TWO THANKSGIVING DAY GENTLEMEN 

THERE is one day that is ours. There is one day 
when all we Americans who are not self-made go back 
to the old home to eat saleratus biscuits and marvel 
how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks 
than it use to. Bless the day. President Roosevelt 
gives it to us. We hear some talk of the Puritans, but 
don't just remember who they were. Bet we can lick 
'em, anyhow, if they try to land again. Plymouth 
Rocks? Well, that sounds more familiar. Lots of us 
have had to come down to hens since the Turkey 
Trust got its work in. Bet somebody in Washington 
is leaking out advance information to 'em about these 
Thanksgiving proclamations. 

The big city east of the cranberry bogs has made 
Thanksgiving Day an institution. The last Thurs- 
day in November is the only day in the year on which 
it recognizes the part of America lying across the 
ferries. It is the one day that is purely American. 
Yes, a day of celebration, exclusively American. 

And now for the story which is to prove to you 
that we have traditions on this side of the ocean that 
are becoming older at a much rapider rate than those 

[50] 



TWO THANKSGIVING DAY GENTLEMEN 

of England are — thanks to our git-up and enter- 
prise. 

Stuffy Pete took his seat on the third bench to the 
right as you enter Union Square from the east, at the 
walk opposite the fountain. Every Thanksgiving 
Day for nine years he had taken his seat there 
promptly at 1 o'clock. For every time he had done 
so things had happened to him — Charles Dickensy 
things that swelled his waistcoat above his heart, and 
equally on the other side. 

But to-day Stuffy Pete's appearance at the annual 
trysting place seemed to have been rather the result 
of habit than of the yearly hunger which, as the 
philanthropists seem to think, afflicts the poor at such 
extended intervals. 

Certainly Pete was not hungry. He had just come 
from a feast that had left him of his powers barely 
those of respiration and locomotion. His eyes were 
like two pale gooseberries firmly imbedded in a swol- 
len and gravy-smeared mask of putty. His breath 
came in a short wheezes; a senatorial roll of adipose 
tissue denied a fashionable set to his upturned coat 
collar. Buttons that had been sewed upon his clothes 
by kind Salvation fingers a week before flew like pop- 
corn, strewing the earth around him. Ragged he was, 
with a split shirt front open to the wishbone; but the 
November breeze, carrying fine snowflakes, brought 
him only a grateful coolness. For Stuffy Pete was 

[51] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

overcharged with the caloric produced by a super- 
bountiful dinner, beginning with oysters and ending 
with plum pudding, and including (it seemed to him) 
all the roast turkey and baked potatoes and chicken 
salad and squash pie and ice cream in the world. 
Wherefore he sat, gorged, and gazed upon the world 
with after-dinner contempt. 

The meal had been an unexpected one. He was 
passing a red brick mansion near the beginning of 
Fifth avenue, in which lived two old ladies of ancient 
family and a reverence for traditions. They even de- 
nied the existence of New York, and believed that 
Thanksgiving Day was declared solely for Washing- 
ton Square. One of their traditional habits was to 
station a servant at the postern gate with orders to 
admit the first hungry wayfarer that came along 
after the hour of noon had struck, and banquet him to 
a finish. Stuffy Pete happened to pass by on his way 
to the park, and the seneschals gathered him in and 
upheld the custom of the castle. 

After Stuffy Pete had gazed straight before him 
for ten minutes he was conscious of a desire for a 
more varied field of vision. With a tremendous effort 
he moved his head slowly to the left. And then his 
eyes bulged out fearfully, and his breath ceased, and 
the rought-shod ends of his short legs wriggled and 
rustled on the gravel. 



[52] 



TWO THANKSGIVING DAY GENTLEMEN 
For the Old Gentleman was coming across Fourth 

» 

avenue toward his bench. 

Every Thanksgiving Day for nine years the Old 
Gentleman had come there and found Stuffy Pete on 
his bench. That was a thing that the Old Gentleman 
was trying to make a tradition of. Every Thanks- 
giving Day for nine years he had found Stuffy there, 
and had led him to a restaurant and watched him eat 
a big dinner. They do those things in England un- 
consciously. But this is a young country, and nine 
years is not so bad. The Old Gentleman was a 
staunch American patriot, and considered himself a 
pioneer in American tradition. In order to become 
picturesque we must keep on doing one thing for a 
long time without ever letting it get away from us. 
Something like collecting the weekly dimes in indus- 
trial insurance. Or cleaning the streets. 

The Old Gentleman moved, straight and stately, to- 
ward the Institution that he was rearing. Truly, the 
annual feeding of Stuffy Pete was nothing national 
in its character, such as the Magna Charta or jam 
for breakfast was in England. But it was a step. 
It was almost feudal. It showed, at least, that a Cus- 
tom was not impossible to New Y — ahem ! — Amer- 
ica. 

The Qld Gentleman was thin and tall and sixty. 
He was dressed all in black, and wore the old-fashioned 
kind of glasses that won't stay on your nose. His 

[53] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

hair was whiter and thinner than it had been last 
year, and he seemed to make more use of his big, 
knobby cane with the crooked handle. 

As his established benefactor came up Stuffy 
wheezed and shuddered like some woman's over-fat 
pug when a street dog bristles up at him. He would 
have flown, but all the skill of Santos-Dumont could 
not have separated him from his bench. Well had 
the myrmidons of the two old ladies done their work. 

" Good morning," said the Old Gentleman. " I am 
glad to perceive that the vicissitudes of another year 
have spared you to move in health about the beauti- 
ful world. For that blessing alone this day of thanks- 
giving is well proclaimed to each of us. If you will 
come with me, my man, I will provide you with a 
dinner that should make your physical being accord 
with the mental." 

That is what the Old Gentleman said every time. 
Every Thanksgiving Day for nine years. The words 
themselves almost formed an Institution. Nothing 1 
could be compared with them except the Declaration 
of Independence. Always before they had been music 
in Stuffy's ears. But now he looked up at the Old 
Gentleman's face with tearful agony in his own. The 
fine snow almost sizzled when it fell upon his perspir- 
ing brow. But the Old Gentleman shivered a little and 
turned his back to the wind. 

Stuffy had always wondered why the Old Gentleman 

[54] 



TWO THANKSGIVING DAY GENTLEMEN 

spoke his speech rather sadly. He did not know that 
it was because he was wishing every time that he 
had a son to succeed him. A son who would come 
there after he was gone — a son who would stand 
proud and strong before some subsequent Stuffy, and 
say : " In memory of my f ather." Then it would 
be an Institution. 

But the Old Gentleman had no relatives. He lived 
in rented rooms in one of the decayed old family 
brownstone mansions in one of the quiet streets east 
of the park. In the winter he raised fuschias in a 
little conservatory the size of a steamer trunk. In 
the spring he walked in the Easter parade. In the 
summer he lived at a farmhouse in the New Jersey 
hills, and sat in a wicker armchair, speaking of a but- 
terfly, the ornithoptera amphrisius, that he hoped to 
find some day. In the autumn he fed Stuffy a dinner. 
These were the Old Gentleman's occupations. 

Stuffy Pete looked up at him for a half minute, 
stewing and helpless in his own self-pity. The Old 
Gentleman's eyes were bright with the giving-pleasure. 
His face was getting more lined each year, but his 
little black necktie was in as jaunty a bow as ever, 
and his linen was beautiful and white, and his gray 
mustache was curled carefully at the ends. And then 
Stuffy made a noise that sounded like peas bubbling 
in a pot. Speech was intended ; and as the Old Gen- 
tleman had heard the sounds nine times before, he 

[55] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

rightly construed them into Stuffy's old formula of 
acceptance. 

" Thankee, sir. I'll go with ye, and much obliged. 
Pm very hungry, sir." 

The coma of repletion had not prevented from en- 
tering Stuffy's mind the conviction that he was the 
basis of an Institution. His Thanksgiving appetite 
was not his own; it belonged by all the sacred rights 
of established custom, if not by the actual Statute of 
Limitations, to this kind old gentleman who had pre- 
empted it. True, America is free; but in order to 
establish tradition some one must be a repetend — a 
repeating decimal. The heroes are not all heroes of 
steel and gold. See one here that wielded only 
weapons of iron, badly silvered, and tin. 

The Old Gentleman led his annual protege south- 
ward to the restaurant, and to the table where the 
feast had always occurred. They were recognized. 

" Here comes de old guy," said a waiter, " dat 
blows dat same bum to a meal every Thanksgiving." 

The Old Gentleman sat across the table glowing 
like a smoked pearl at his corner-stone of future an- 
cient Tradition. The waiters heaped the table with 
holiday food — and Stuffy, with a sigh that was mis- 
taken for hunger's expression, raised knife and fork 
and carved for himself a crown of imperishable bay. 

No more valiant hero ever fought his way through 
the ranks of an enemy. Turkey, chops, soups, vege- 

[56] 



TWO THANKSGIVING DAY GENTLEMEN 

tables, pies, disappeared before him as fast as they 
could be served. Gorged nearly to the uttermost 
when he entered the restaurant, the smell of food had 
almost caused him to lose his honor as a gentleman, 
but he rallied like a true knight. He saw the look of 
beneficent happiness on the Old Gentleman's face — 
a happier look than even the fuschias and the orni- 
+VuvpfoT»Q ompViT.jc j in < j Lq/J ever brought to it — and he 

N ha<Tnot the heart to see it wane. 

In an hour Stuffy, leaned back with a battle won. 

" Thankee kindly, sir," he puffed like a leaky steam 
pipe ; " thankee kindly for a hearty meal." 

Then he arose heavily with glazed eyes and started 
toward the kitchen. A waiter turned him about like 
a top, and pointed him toward the door. The Old 
Gentleman carefully counted out $1.30 in silver 
change, leaving three nickels for the waiter. 

They parted as they did each year at the door, 
the Old Gentleman going south, Stuffy north. 

Around the first corner Stuffy turned, and stood 
for one minute. Then he seemed to puff out his rags 
as an owl puffs out his feathers, and fell to the side- 
walk like a sunstricken horse. 

When the ambulance came the young surgeon and 
the driver cursed softly at his weight. There was no 
smell of whiskey to justify a transfer to the patrol 
wagon, so Stuffy and his two dinners went to the hos- 
pital. There they stretched him on a bed and began 

[57] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

to test him for strange diseases, with the hope of 
getting a chance at some problem with the bare steel. 

And lo! an hour later another ambulance brought 
the Old Gentleman. And they laid him on another 
bed and spoke of appendicitis, for he looked good for 
the bill. 

But pretty soon one of the young doctors met one 
of the young nurses whose eyes he liked, and stopped 
to chat with her about the cases. 

" That nice old gentleman over there, now," he said, 
" you wouldn't think that was a case of almost starva- 
tion. Proud old family, I guess. He told me he 
hadn't eaten a thing for three days." 



[58] 



THE ASSESSOR OF SUCCESS 

HASTINGS BEAUCHAMP MORLEY sauntered 
across Union Square with a pitying look at the hun- 
dreds that lolled upon the park benches. They were 
a motley lot, he thought ; the men with stolid, animal, 
unshaven faces; the women wriggling and self-con- 
scious, twining and untwining their feet that hung 
four inches above the gravelled walks. 

Were I Mr. Carnegie or Mr. Rockefeller I would 
put a few millions in my inside pocket and make an 
appointment with all the Park Commissioners (around 
the corner, if necessary), and arrange for benches in 
all the parks of the world low enough for women to 
sit upon, and rest their feet upon the ground. After 
that I might furnish libraries to towns that would pay. 
for 'em, or build sanitariums for crank professors, and 
call 'em colleges, if I wanted to. 

Women's rights societies have been laboring for 
many years after equality with man. With what re- 
sult? When they sit on a bench they must twist their 
ankles together and uncomfortably swing their highest 
French heels clear of earthly support. Begin at the 
bottom, ladies. Get your feet on the ground, and then 
rise to theories of mental equality. 

[59] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

Hastings Beauchamp Morley. was carefully and 
neatly dressed. That was the result of an instinct 
due to his birth and breeding. It is denied us to look 
further into a man's bosom than the starch on his 
shirt front; so it is left to us only to recount his 
walks and conversation. 

Morley had not a cent in his pockets ; but he smiled 
pityingly at a hundred grimy, unfortunate ones who 
had no more, and who would have no more when the 
sun's first rays yellowed the tall paper-cutter build- 
ing on the west side of the square. But Morley would 
have enough by then. Sundown had seen his pockets 
empty before ; but sunrise had always seen them lined. 

First he went to the house of a clergyman off Madi- 
son avenue and presented a forged letter of introduc- 
tion that holily purported to issue from a pastorate in 
Indiana. This netted him $5 when backed up by a 
realistic romance of a delayed remittance. 

On the sidewalk, twenty steps from the clergyman's 
door, a pale-faced, fat man huskily enveloped him 
with a raised, red fist and the voice of a bell buoy, 
demanding payment of an old score. 

" Why, Bergman, man," sang Morley, dulcetly, " is 
this you? I was just on my way up to your place 
to settle up. That remittance from my aunt arrived 
only this morning. Wrong address was the trouble. 
Come up to the corner and I'll square up. Glad to 
see you. Saves me a walk." 

[60] 



THE ASSESSOR OF SUCCESS 

Four drinks placated the emotional Bergman. 
There was an air about Morley when he was backed 
by money in hand that would have stayed off a call 
loan at Rothschilds'. When he was penniless his 
bluff was pitched half a tone lower, but few are com- 
petent to detect the difference in the notes. 

" You gum to mine blace und bay me to-morrow, 
Mr. Morley ," said Bergman. " Oxcuse me dat I dun 
you on der street. But I haf not seen you in dree 
mont\ Pros't ! " 

Morley walked away with a crooked smile on his 
pale, smooth face. The credulous, drink-softened 
German amused him. He would have to avoid Twen- 
ty-ninth street in the future. He had not been aware 
that Bergman ever went home by that route. 

At the door of a darkened house two squares to 
the north Morley knocked with a peculiar sequence 
of raps. The door opened to the length of a six- 
inch chain, and the pompous, important black face 
of an African guardian imposed itself in the open- 
ing. Morley was admitted. 

In a third-story room, in an atmosphere 
with smoke, he hung for ten minutes above a 




wheel. Then downstairs he crept, and was out-sped 
by the important negro, jingling in his pocket the 40 
cents in silver that remained to him of his five-dollar 
capital. At the corner he lingered, undecided. 
Across the street was a drug store, well lighted, 

[61] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

sending forth gleams from the German silver and 
crystal of its soda fountain and glasses. Along came 
a youngster of five, headed for the dispensary, step- 
ping high with the consequence of a big errand, pos- 
sibly one to which his advancing age had earned him 
promotion. In his hand he clutched something 
tightly, publicly, proudly, conspicuously. 

Morley stopped him with his winning smile and soft 
speech. 

"Me?" said the youngster. " Fm doin' to the 
drug 'tore for mamma. She dave me a dollar to buy 
a bottle of med'cin." 

" Now, now, now ! " said Morley. " Such a big 
mfan you are to be doing errands for mamma. I must 
go along with my little man to see that the cars don't 
run over him. And on the way we'll have some choco- 
lates. Or would he rather have lemon drops? " 

Morley entered the drug store leading the child by 
the hand. He presented the prescription that had 
been wrapped around the money. 

On his face was a smile, predatory, parental, politic, 
profound. 

-^^Aqqfljura. one pint," said he to the druggist. 
" Sodium chloride, ten grains. Fiat solution. And 
don't try to skin me, because I know all about the 
number of gallons of H20 in the Croton reservoir, 
and I always use the other ingredient on my po- 
tatoes." 

[68] 



THE ASSESSOR OF SUCCESS 

" Fifteen cents," said the druggist, with a wink, 
after he had compounded the order. " I see you un- 
derstand pharmacy. A dollar is the regular price." 

" To gulls," said Morley, smilingly. 

He settled the wrapped bottle carefully in the 
child's arms and escorted him to the corner. In his 
own pocket he dropped the 85 cents accruing to him 
by virtue of his chemical knowledge. 

" Look out for the cars, sonny," he said, cheerfully, 
to his small victim. 

Two street cars suddenly swooped in opposite di- 
rections upon the youngster. Morley dashed between 
them and pinned th e infa ntile messenger by the neck, 
holding him in safety. Then from the corner of his 
street he sent him on his way, swindled, happy, and 
sticky with vile, cheap candy from the Italian's fruit 
stand. 

Morley went to a restaurant and ordered a sirloin 
and a pint of inexpensive Chateau Breuille. He 
laughed noiselessly, but so genuinely that the waiter 
ventured to premise that good news had come his way. 

" Why, no," said Morley, who seldom held conver- 
sation with any one. " It is not that. It is some- 
thing else that amuses me. Do you know what three 
divisions of people are easiest to over-reach in trans- 
actions of all kinds?" 

" Sure," said the waiter, calculating the size of the 
tip promised by the careful knot of Morley' s tie; 

[68] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" there's the buyers from the dry goods stores in the 
South during August, and honeymooners from Staten 
Island, and" — 

" Wrong ! " said Morley, chuckling happily. 
"The answer is just — men, women and children. 
The world — well, say New York and as far as sum- 
mer boarders can swim out from Long Island — is 
full of greenhorns. Two minutes longer on the 
broiler would have made this steak fit to be eaten by 
a gentleman, Francois." 

" If yez t'inks it's on de bum," said the waiter, 
Oi'U "— 

Morley lifted his hand in protest — slightly mar- 
tyred 'protest. 

" It will do, w he said, magnanimously. " And now, 
green Chartreuse, frappe and a demi-tasse." 

Morley went out leisurely and stood on a corner 
where two tradeful arteries of the city cross. With 
a solitary dime in his pocket, he stood on the curb 
watching with confident, cynical, smiling eyes the tides 
of people that flowed past him. Into that stream he 
must cast his net and draw fish for his -further sus- 
tenance and need. Good Izaak Walton had not the 
half of his self reliance and bait-lore. 

A joyful party of four — two women and two men 
— fell upon him with cries of delight. There was a 
dinner party on — where had he been for a fortnight 
past? — what luck to thus run upon him ! They sur- 

[64] 



THE ASSESSOR OF SUCCESS 

rounded and engulfed him — he must join them — tra 
la la — and the rest. 

One with a white hat plume curving to the shoulder 
touched his sleeve, and cast at the others a triumphant 
look that said: " See wh&t I can do with him? " and 
added her queen's command to the invitations. 

" I leave you to imagine," said Morley, pathetically, 
" how it desolates me to forego the pleasure. But my 
friend Carruthers, of the New York Yacht Club, is 
to pick me up here in his motor car at 8." 

The white plume tossed, and the quartet danced 
like midges around an arc light down the frolicsome 
way. 

Morley stood, turning over and over the dime in 
his pocket and laughing gleefully to himself. 

" ' Front,' " he chanted under his breath ; " * front * 
does it. It is trumps in the game. How they take 
it in ! Men, women and children — forgeries, water- 
and-salt lies — how they all take it in ! " 

An old man with an ill-fitting suit, a straggling 
gray beard and a corpulent umbrella hopped from the 
jlomeration of cabs and street cars to the sidewalk 
at Morley's si< 

" Stranger," said he, " excuse me for troubling you, 
but do you know anybody in this here town named 
Solomon Smothers? He's my son, and I've come 
down from Ellenville to visit him. Be darned if I 
know what I done with his street and number." 

[65] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

u I do not sir," said Morley, half closing his eyes 
to veil the joy in them. " You had better apply to 
the police." 

" The police ! " said the old man. " I ain't done 
nothin' to call in the police about. I just come 
down to see Ben. He lives in a five-story house, he 
writes me. If you know anybody by that name and 
could " — 

" I told you I did not," said Morley, coldly. " I 
know no one by the name of Smithers, and I advise 
you to" — 

" Smothers, not Smithers," interrupted the old man 
hopefully. " A heavy- sot man, sandy complected, 
about twenty-nine, two front teeth out, about five 
foot " — 

" Oh, ' Smothers ! " exclaimed Morley. " Sol 
Smothers? Why, he lives in the next house to me. 
I thought you said * Smithers.' " 

Morley looked at his watch. You must have a 
watch. You can do it for a dollar. Better go hun- 
gry than forego a gunmetal or the ninety-eight-cent 
one that the railroads — according to these watch- 
makers — are run by. 

" The Bishop of Long Island," said Morley, " was 
to meet me here at 8 to dine with me at the King- 
fishers' Club. But I can't leave the father of my 
friend Sol Smothers alone on the street. By St. 
Swithin, Mr. Smothers, we Wall street men have to 

[66] 



THE ASSESSOR OF SUCCESS 

work! Tired is no name for it! I was about to 
step across to the other corner and have a glass of 
ginger ale with a dash of sherry when you approached 
me. You must let me take you to Sol's house, Mr. 
Smothers. But before we take the car I hope you 
will join me in " — 

An hour later Morley seated himself on the end 
of a quiet bench in Madison Square, with a twenty- 
five-cent cigar between his lips and $140 in deeply 
creased bills in his inside pocket. Content, light- 
hearted, ironical, keenly philosophic, he watched the 
moon drifting in and out amidst a maze of flying 
clouds. An old, ragged man with a low-bowed head 
sat at the other end of the bench. 

Presently the old man stirred and looked at his 
bench companion. In Morley's appearance he seemed 
to recognize something superior to the usual nightly 
occupants of the benches. 

" Kind sir," he whined, " if you could spare a dime 
or even a few pennies to one who " — 

Morley cut short his stereotyped appeal by throw- 
ing him a dollar. 

" God bless you ! " said the old man. " I've been 
trying to find work for" — 

" Work ! " echoed Morley with his ringing laugh. 
" You are a fool, my friend. The world is a rock 
to you, no doubt; but you must be an Aaron and 
smite it with your rod. Then things better than water 

[67] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

will gush out of it for you. That is what the world 
is for. It gives to me whatever I want from it." 

" God has blessed you," said the old man. " It 
is only work that I have known. And now I can 
get no more." 

" I must go home," said Morley, rising and button- 
ing his coat. " I stopped here only for a smoke. 
I hope you may find work." 

" May your kindness be rewarded this night," said 
the old man. 

" Oh," said Morley, " you have your wish already. 
I am satisfied. I think good luck follows me like a 
dog. I am for yonder bright hotel across the square 
for the night. And what a moon that is lighting 
up the city to-night. I think no one enjoys the moon- 
light and such little things as I do. Well, a good- 
night to you." 

Morley walked to the corner where he would cross 
to his hotel. He blew slow streamers of smoke from 
his cigar heavenward. A policeman passing saluted 
to his benign nod. What a fine moon it was. 

The clock struck nine as a girl just entering woman- 
hood stopped on the corner waiting for the approach- 
ing car. She was hurrying as if homeward from em- 
ployment or delay. Her eyes were clear and pure, 
she was dressed in simple white, she looked eagerly 
for the car and neither to the right nor the left. 

Morley knew her. Eight years before he had sat 

[68] 



THE ASSESSOR OF SUCCESS 

on the same bench with her at school. There had 
been no sentiment between them — nothing but the 
friendship of innocent days. 

But he turned down the side street to a quiet spot 
and laid his suddenly burning face against the cool 
iron of a lamp-post, and said dully : 
God! I wish I could die." 



[69] 



. THE BUYER FROM CACTUS CITY 

IT is well that hay fever and colds do not obtain in 
the healthful vicinity of Cactus City, Texas, for the 
dry goods emporium of Navarro & Piatt, situated 
there, is not to be sneezed at. 

Twenty thousand people in Cactus City scatter their 
silver coin with liberal hands for the things that their 
hearts desire. The bulk of this semiprecious metal 
goes to Navarro & Piatt. Their huge brick building 
covers enough ground to graze a dozen head of sheep. 
You can buy of them a rattlesnake-skin necktie, an 
automobile or an eighty-five dollar, latest style, ladies' 
tan coat in twenty different shades. Navarro & Piatt 
first introduced pennies west of the Colorado River. 
They had been ranchmen with business heads, who saw 
that the world did not necessarily have to cease its 
revolutions after free grass went out. 

Every spring, Navarro, senior partner, fifty-five, 
half Spanish, cosmopolitan, able, polished, had " gone 
on " to New York to buy goods. This year he shied 
at taking up the long trail. He was undoubtedly 
growing older; and he looked at his watch several 
times a day before the hour came for his siesta. 

[70] 



THE BUYER FROM CACTUS CITY 

" John," he said, to his junior partner, " you shall 
go on this year to buy the goods." 

Piatt looked tired. 

" I'm told," said he, " that New York is a plumb 
dead town; but Fll go. I can take a whirl in San 
Antone for a few days on my way and have some 
fun." 

Two weeks later a man in a Texas full dress suit — 
black frock coat, broad-brimmed soft white hat, and 
lay-down collar 3-4 inch high, with black, wrought 
iron necktie — entered the wholesale cloak and suit es- 
tablishment of Zizzbaum & Son, on lower Broadway. 

Old Zizzbaum had the eye of an osprey, the mem- 
ory of an elephant and a mind that unfolded from 
him in three movements like the puzzle of the carpen- 
ter's rule. He rolled to the front like a brunette polar 
bear, and shook Piatt's hand. 

" And how is the good Mr. Navarro in Texas? " he 
said. " The trip was too long for him this year, so? 
We welcome Mr. Piatt instead." 

" A bull's eye," said Piatt, " and I'd give forty 
acres of unirrigated Pecos County land to know how 
you did it." 

" I knew," grinned Zizzbaum, " just as I know that 
the rainfall in El Paso for the year was 28.5 inches, 
or an increase of 15 inches, and that therefore Navarro 
& Piatt will buy a $15,000 stock of suits this spring 
instead of $10,000, as in a dry year. But that will 

[71] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

be to-morrow. There is first a cigar in my private 
office that will remove from your mouth the taste of 
the ones you smuggle across the Rio Grande and 
like — because they are smuggled." 

It was late in the afternoon and business for the day 
had ended, Zizzbaum left Piatt with a half -smoked 
cigar, and came out of the private office to Son, who 
was arranging his diamond scarfpin before a mirror, 
ready to leave. 

" Abey," he said, " you will have to take Mr. Piatt 
around to-night and show him things. They are cus- 
tomers for ten years. Mr. Navarro and I we played 
chess every moment of spare time when he came. 
That is good, but Mr. Piatt is a young man and this 
is his first visit to New York. He should amuse 
easily." 

" All right," said Abey, screwing the guard tightly 
on his pin. " Fll take him on. After he's seen the 
Flatiron and the head waiter at the Hotel Astor and 
heard the phonograph play ' Under -the Old Apple 
Tree 5 it'll be half past ten, and Mr. Texas will be 
ready to roll up in his blanket. Fve got a supper 
engagement at 11.30, but he'll be all to the Mrs. Wins- 
low before then." 

The next morning at 10 Piatt walked into the store 
ready to do business. He had a bunch of hyacinths 
pinned on his lapel. Zizzbaum himself waited on him. 

[7»] 



THE BUYER FROM CACTUS CITY 

Navarro & Piatt were good customers, and never failed „ 
to take their discount for cash. r ■ J 

" And what did you think of our little town? " asked 
Zizzbaum, with the fatuous smile of the Manhattanite. 

" I shouldn't care to live in it," said the Texan. 
" Your son and I knocked around quite a little last 
night. You've got good water, but Cactus City is 
better lit up." 

" We've got a few lights on Broadway, don't you 
think, Mr. Piatt?" 

" And a good many shadows," said Piatt. " I 
think I like your horses best. I haven't seen a 
crowbait since I've been in town." 

Zizzbaum led him upstairs to show the samples of 
suits. 

" Ask Miss Asher to come," he said to a clerk. 

Miss Asher came, and Piatt, of Navarro & Piatt, 
felt for the first time the wonderful bright light of 
romance and glory descend upon him. He stood still 
as a granite cliff above the canon of the Colorado, 
with his wide-open eyes fixed upon her. She noticed 
his look and flushed a little, which was contrary to 
her custom. 

Miss Asher was the crack model of Zizzbaum & 
Son. She was of the blond type known as " medium," 
and her measurements even went the required 88-25-42 
standard a little better. She had been at Zizzbaum's 
two years, and knew her business. Her eye was 

[73] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

bright, but cool ; and had she chosen to match her gaze 
against the optic of the famed basilisk, that fabulous 
monster's gaze would have wavered and softened first. 
Incidentally, she knew buyers. 

" Now, Mr. Piatt," said Zizzbaum, " I want you to 
see these princess gowns in the light shades. They 
will be the thing in your climate. This first, if you 
please, Miss Asher." 

Swiftly in and out of the dressing-room the prize 
model flew, each time wearing a new costume and look- 
ing more stunning with every change. She posed 
with absolute self-possession before the stricken buyer, 
who stood, tongue-tied and motionless, while Zizzbaum 
orated oilily of the styles. On the model's face was 
her faint, impersonal professional smile that seemed to 
cover something like weariness or contempt. 

When the display was over Piatt seemed to hesi- 
tate. Zizzbaum was a little anxious, thinking that 
his customer might be inclined to try elsewhere. But 
Piatt was only looking over in his mind the best build- 
ing sites in Cactus City, trying to select one on which 
to build a house for his wife-to-be — who was just 
then in the dressing-room taking off an evening gown 
of lavender and tulle. 

* 

" Take your time, Mr. Piatt," said Zizzbaum. 
" Think it over to-night. You won't find anybody 
else meet our prices on goods like these. I'm afraid 
you're having a dull time in New York, Mr. Piatt. A 

[74] 



THE BUYER FROM CACTUS CITY 

young man like you — of course, you miss the society 
of the ladies. Wouldn't you like a nice young lady to 
take out to dinner this evening? Miss Asher, now, is 
a very nice young lady ; she will make it agreeable for 
you." 

" Why, she doesn't know me," said Piatt, wonder- 
ingly. " She doesn't know anything about me. 
Would she go? I'm not acquainted with her." 

"Would she go?" repeated Zizzbaum, with up- 
lifted eyebrows. " Sure, she would go. I will intro- 
duce you. Sure, she would go." 

He called Miss Asher loudly. 

She came, calm and slightly contemptuous, in her 

white shirt waist and plain black skirt. 

« 

" Mr. Piatt would like the pleasure of your com- 
pany to dinner this evening," said Zizzbaum, walking 
away. 

" Sure," said Miss Asher, looking at the ceiling. 
" I'd be much pleased. Nine-eleven West Twentieth 
street. What time? " 

" Say seven o'clock." 

"All right, but please don't come ahead of time. 
I room with a school teacher, and she doesn't allow 
any gentlemen to call in the room. There isn't any 
parlor, so you'll have to wait in the hall. I'll be 
ready." 

At half past seven Piatt and Miss Asher sat at a 
table in a Broadway restaurant. She was dressed 

[75] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

in a plain, filmy black. Piatt didn't know that it 
was all a part of her day's work. 

With the unobtrusive aid of a good waiter he 
managed to order a respectable dinner, minus the usual 
Broadway preliminaries. 

Miss Asher flashed upon him a dazzling smile. 

" Mayn't I have something to drink? " she asked. 

"Why, certainly," said Piatt. "Anything you 
want." . 

" A dry Martini," she said to the waiter. 

When it was brought and set before her Piatt 
reached over and took it away. 

" What is this? " he asked. 

" A cocktail, of course." 

" I thought it was some kind of tea you ordered. 
This is liquor. You can't drink this. What is your 
first name?" 

" To my intimate friends," said Miss Asher, f reez- 
ingly, " it is < Helen.' " 

" Listen, Helen," said Piatt, leaning over the table. 
" For many years every time the spring flowers 
blossomed out on the prairies I got to thinking of 
somebody that I'd never seen or heard of. I knew it 
was you the minute I saw you yesterday. I'm going 
back home to-morrow, and you're going with me. I 
know it, for I saw it in your eyes when you first looked 
at me. You needn't kick, for you've got to fall into 



[76] 



THE tiUYER FROM CACTUS CITY 

line. Here's a little trick I picked out for you on my 
way over." 

He flicked a two-carat diamond solitaire ring across 
the table. Miss Asher flipped it back to him with her 
fork. 

" Don't get fresh," she said, severely. 

" Fm worth a hundred thousand dollars," said 
Piatt. " Fll build you the finest house in West 
Texas." 

" You can't buy me, Mr. Buyer," said Miss Asher, 
" if you had a hundred million. I didn't think I'd 
have to call you down. You didn't look like the 
others to me at first, but I see you're all alike." 

"All who? "asked Piatt. 

" All you buyers. You think because we girls have 
to go out to dinner with you or lose our jobs that 
you're privileged to say what you please. Well, for- 
get it. I thought you were different from the others, 
but I see I was mistaken." 

Piatt struck his fingers on the table with a gesture 
of sudden, illuminating satisfaction. 

" I've got it ! " he exclaimed, almost hilariously — 
" the Nicholson place, over on the north side. There's 
a big grove of live oaks and a natural lake. The old 
house can be pulled down and the new one set further 
back." 

" Put out your pipe," said Miss Asher. " I'm 
sorry to wake you up, but you fellows might as well 

[77] 



THE TRIMMED LA»fl? 

get wise, once for all, to where you stand. I'm sup- 
posed to go to dinner with you and help jolly you 
along so you'll trade with old Zizzy, but don't expect 
to find me in any of the suits you buy." 

" Do ybu mean to tell me," said Piatt, " that you 
go out this way with customers, and they all — they 
all talk to you like I have? " 

" They all make plays," said Miss Asher. " But I 
must say that you've got 'em beat in one respect. 
They generally talk diamonds, while you've actually 
dug one up." 

" How long have you been working, Helen? " 

" Got my name pat, haven't you? I've been sup- 
porting myself for eight years. I was a cash girl 
and a wrapper and then a shop girl until I was grown, 
and then I got to be a suit model. Mr. Texas Man, 
don't you think a little wine would make this dinner 
a little less dry? " 

" You're not going to drink wine any more, dear. 

It's awful to think how I'll come to the store 

to-morrow and get you. I want you to pick out an 
automobile before we leave. That's all we need to 
buy here." 

" Oh, cut that out. If you knew how sick I am of 
hearing such talk." 

After the dinner they walked down Broadway and 
came upon Diana's little wooded park. The trees 
caught Piatt's eye at once, and he must turn along 

[78] 



THE tfUYER FROM CACTUS CITY 

under the winding walk beneath them. The lights 
shone upon two bright tears in the model's eyes. 

" I don't like that," said Piatt. " What's the mat- 
ter?" 

" Don't you mind," said Miss Asher. " Well, it's 
because — well, I didn't think you were that kind when 
I first saw you. But you are all alike. And now will 
you take me home, or will I have to call a cop? " 

Piatt took her to the door of her boarding-house. 
They, stood for a minute in the vestibule. She looked 
at him with such scorn in her eyes that even his heart 
of oak began to waver. His arm was half way around 
her waist, when she struck him a stinging blow on the 
face with her open hand. 

As he stepped back a ring fell from somewhere and 
bounded on the tiled floor. Piatt groped for it and 
found it. 

"Now, take your useless diamond and go, Mr. 
Buyer," she said. 

" This was the other one — the wedding ring," said 
the Texan, holding the smooth gold band on the palm 
of his hand. 

Miss Asher's eyes blazed upon him in the half dark- 
ness. 

" Was that what you meant? — did you " — 

Somebody opened the door from inside the house. 

"Good-night," said Piatt. " Pll see you at the 
store to-morrow." 

[79] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

Miss Asher ran up to her room and shook the school 
teacher until she sat up in bed ready, to scream 
" Fire ! " 

" Whore is it? " she cried. 

" That's what I want to know," said the model. 
"You've studied geography, Emma, and you ought 
to know; Where is a town called Cac — Cac — Carac 
— Caracas City, I think they called it? " 

" How dare you wake me up for that? " said the 
school teacher. " Caracas is in Venezuela, of course." 

"What's it like?" 

" Why, it's principally earthquakes and negroes 
and monkeys and malarial fever and volcanoes." 

" I don't care," said Miss Asher, blithely ; " I'm 
gping there to-morrow." 



[80] 



THE BADGE OF POLICEMAN O'ROON 

IT cannot be denied that men and women have looked 
upon one another for the first time and become in- 
stantlygpflmgred. It is a risky process, this love at 
first sight, before she has seen him in Bradstreet or he 
has seen her in curl papers. But these things do hap- 
pen; and one instance must form a theme for this 
story — though not, thank Heaven, to the overshad- 
owing of more vital and important subjects, such as 
drink, policemen, horses and earldoms. 

During a certain war a troop calling itself the Gen- 
tle Riders rode into history and one or two ambuscades. 
The Gentle Riders were recruited from the aristoc- 
racy of the wild men of the West and the wild men 
of the aristocracy of the East. Ig fEKaj flpthere is little 
telling them one from another, so they became good 
friends and comrades all around. 

Ellsworth Remsen, whose old Knickerbocker descent 
atoned for his modest rating at only ten millions, ate 
his canned beef gayly by the campfires of the Gentle 
Riders. The war was a great lark to him, so that he 
scarcely regretted polo and planked shad. 

One of the troopers was a well set up, affable, cool 
young man, who called himself O'Roon. To this 

[81] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

young man Remsen took an especial liking. The two 
rode side by side during the famous mooted up-hill 
charge that was disputed so hotly at the time by the 
Spaniards and afterward by the Democrats. 

After the war Remsen came back to his polo and 
shad. One day a well set up, affable, cool young man 
disturbed him at his club, and he and O'Roon were 
soon pounding each other and exchanging opprobious 
epithets after the manner of long-lost friends. 
O'Roon looked seedy and out of luck and perfectly 
contented. But it seemed that his content was only 
apparent. 

" Get me a job, Remsen," he said. " I've just 
handed a barber my last shilling." 

" No trouble at all," said Remsen. " I know a lot 
of men who have banks and stores and things down- 
town. Any particular line you fancy? " 

" Yes," said O'Roon, with a look of interest. " I 
took a walk in your Central Park this morning. Pd 
like to be one of those bobbies on horseback. That 
would be about the ticket. Besides, it's the only thing 
I could do. I can ride a little and the fresh air suits 
me. Think you could land that for me? " 

Remsen was sure that he could. And in a very 
short time he did. And they who were not above look- 
ing at mounted policemen might have seen a well set 
up, affable, cool young man on a prancing chestnut 



[82] 



THE BADGE OF POLICEMAN 0?ROON 

steed attending to his duties along the driveways of 
the park. 

And now at the extreme risk of wearying old gen- 
tlemen who carry leather fob chains, and elderly ladies 
who — but no! grandmother herself yet thrills at 
foolish, immortal Romeo — there must be a hint of 
love at first sight. 

It came just as Remsen was strolling into Fifth 
avenue from his club a few doors away. 

A motor car was creeping along foot by foot, im- 
peded by a freshet of vehicles that filled the street. 
In the car was a chauffeur and an old gentleman with 
snowy side whiskers and a Scotch plaid cap which 
could not be worn while automobiling except by a per- 
sonage. Not even a wine agent would dare to do it. 
But these two were of no consequence — except, per- 
haps, for the guiding of the machine and the paying 
for it. At the old gentleman's side sat a young lady 
more beautiful than pomegranate blossoms, more ex- 
quisite than the first quarter moon viewed at twilight 
through the tops of oleanders. Remsen saw her and 
knew his fate. He could have flung himself under 
the very wheels that conveyed her, but he knew that 
would be the last means of attracting the attention 
of those who ride in motor cars. Slowly the auto 
passed, and, if we place the poets above the autoists, 
carried the heart of Remsen with it. Here was a 
large city of millions, and many women who at a 

[88] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

certain distance appear to resemble pomegranate 
blossoms Yet he hoped to see her again; for each 
one fancies that his romance has its own tutelary 
guardian and divinity. 

Luckily for Remsen's peace of mind there came a 
diversion in the guise of a reunion of the Gentle Riders 
of the city. There were not many of them — per- 
haps a score — and there was w assail^ and things to 
eat, and speeches and the Spaniard was bearded again 
in recapitulation. And when daylight threatened 
them the survivors prepared to depart. But some 
remained upon the battlefield. One of these was 
Trooper O'Roon, who was not seasoned to potent 
liquids. His legs declined to fulfil the obligations 
they had sworn to the police department. 

" Pm stewed, Remsen," said O'Roon to his friend. 
" Why do they built hotels that go round and round 
like Catherine wheels? They'll take away my shield 
and break me. I can think and talk con-con-consec- 
sec-secutively, but I s-s-stammer with my feet. I've 
got to go on duty in three hours. The jig is up, 
Remsen. The jig is up, I tell you." 

" Look at me," said Remsen, who was his smiling 
self, pointing to his own face; "whom do you see 
here?" 

"Goo' fellow," said O'Roon, dizzily, " Gorf old 
Remsen." 

" Not so,' said Remsen. " You see Mounted Po- 

[84] 



THE BADGE OF POLICEMAN O'ROON 

liceman O'Roon. Look at your face — no; you can't 
do that without a glass — but look at mine, and think 
of yours. How much alike are we? As two French 
table d'hote dinners. With your badge, on your 
horse, in your uniform, will I charm nurse-maids and 
prevent the grass from growing under people's feet 
in the Park this day. I will save your badge and 
your honor, besides having the j oiliest lark I've been 
blessed with since we licked Spain. 

Promptly on time the counterfeit presentment of 
Mounted Policeman O'Roon single-footed into the 
Park on his chestnut steed. In a uniform two men 
who are unlike will look alike; two who somewhat re- 
semble each other in feature and figure will appear as 
twin brothers. So Remsen trotted down the bridle 
paths, enjoying himself hugely, so few real pleasures 
do ten-millionaires have. 

Along the driveway in the early morning spun a 
victoria drawn by a pair of fiery bays. There was 
something foreign about the affair, for the Park is 
rarely used in the morning except by unimportant 
people who love to be healthy, poor and wise. In the 
vehicle sat an old gentleman with snowy side-whiskers 
and a Scotch plaid cap which could not be worn while 
driving except by a personage. At his side sat the 
lady of Remsen's heart — the lady who looked like 
pomegranate blossoms and the gibbous moon. 

Remsen met them coming. At the instant of their 

[85] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

passing her eyes looked into his, and but for the ever 
coward heart of a true lover he could have sworn that 
she flushed a faint pink. He trotted on for twenty 
yards, and then wheeled his horse at the sound of run- 
away hoofs. The bays had bolted. 

Remsen sent his chestnut after the victoria like a 
shot. There was work cut out for the impersonator 
of Policeman O'Roon. The chestnut ranged along- 
side the off bay thirty seconds after the chafce began, 
rolled his eye back at Remsen, and said in the only 
manner open to policemen's horses : 

" Well, you duffer, are you going to do your share? 
You're not O'Roon, but it seems to me if you'd lean 
to the right you could reach the reins of that foolish, 
slow-running bay — ah! you're all right; O'Roon 
couldn't have done it more neatly ! " 

The runaway team was tugged to an inglorious halt 
by Remsen's tough muscles. The driver released his 
hands from the wrapped reins, jumped from his seat 
and stood at the heads of the team. The chestnut, 
approving his new rider, danced and pranced, reviling 
equinely the subdued bays. Remsen, lingering, was 
dimly conscious of a vague, impossible, unnecessary 
old gentleman in a Scotch cap who talked incessantly 
about something. And he was acutely conscious of 
a pair of violet eyes that would have drawn Saint 
Pyrites from his iron pillar — or whatever the allusion 
is — and of the lady's smile and look — a little fright- 

[86] 



THE BADGE OF POLICEMAN O'ROON 

ened, but a look that, with the ever coward heart of a 
true lover, he could not yet construe. They were ask- 
ing his name and bestowing upon him well-bred thanks 
for his heroic deed, and the Scotch cap was especially 
babbling and insistent. But the eloquent appeal was 
in the eyes of the lady. 

A little thrill of satisfaction ran through Remsen, 
because he had a name to give which, without undue 
pride, was worthy of being spoken in high places, and 
a small fortune which, with due pride, he could leave 
at his end without disgrace. 

He opened his lips to speak, and closed them again. 

Who was he? Mounted Policeman O'Roon. The 
badge and the honor of his comrade were in his hands. 
If Ellsworth Remsen, ten-millionaire and Knicker- 
bocker, had just rescued pomegranate blossoms and 
Scotch cap from possible death, where was Policeman 
O'Roon? Off his beat, exposed, disgraced, dis- 
charged. Love had come, but before that there had 
been something that demanded precedence — the fel- 
lowship of men on battlefields fighting an alien foe^ 

Remsen touched his cap, looked between the chest- 
nut's ears, and took refuge in vernacularity. 

" Don't mention it," he said stolidly. " We police- 
men are paid to do these things. It's our duty." 

And he rode away — rode away cursing noblesse 
oblige, but knowing he could never have done any- 
thing else. 

[87] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

At the end of the day Remsen sent the chestnut to 
his stable and went to O'Roon's room. The police- 
man was again a well set up, affable, cool young man 
who sat by the window smoking cigars. 

" I wish you and the rest of the police force and 
all badges, horses, brass buttons and men who can't 
drink two glasses of brut without getting upset were 
at the devil," said Remsen feelingly. 

O'Roon smiled with evident satisfaction. 

" Good old Remsen," he said, affably, " I know all 
about it. They trailed me down and cornered me here 
two hours ago. There was a little row at home, you 
know, and I cut sticks just to show them. I don't 
believe I told you that my Governor was the Earl of 
Ardsley. Funny you should bob against them in the 
Park. If you damaged that horse of mine I'll never 
forgive you. I'm going to buy him and take him 
back with me. Oh, yes, and I think my sister — 
Lady Angela, you know — wants particularly for you 
to come up to the hotel with me this evening. Didn't 
lose my badge, did you, Remsen? I've got to turn 
that in at Headquarters when I resign." 



[88] 



BRICKDUST ROW 

BLINKER was displeased. A man of less culture 
and poise and wealth would have sworn. But 
Blinker always remembered that he was a gentleman 
— a thing that no gentleman should do. So he merely 
looked bored and sardonic while he rode in a hansom 
to the center of disturbance, which was the Broadway 
office of Lawyer Oldport, who was agent for the 
Blinker estate. 

" I don't see," said Blinker, " why I should be 
always signing confounded papers. I am packed, 
and was to have left for the North Woods this morn- 
ing. Now I must wait until to-morrow morning. I 
hate night trains. My best razors are, of course, at 
the bottom of some unidentifiable trunk. It is a plot 
to drive me to bay rum and a monologueijig, thumb- 
handed barber. Give me a pe\i That doesn't scratch. 
I hate pens that scratch." 

" Sit down," said double-chinned, gray Lawyer Old- 
port. " The worst has not been told you. Oh, the 
hardships of the rich ! The papers are not yet ready 
to sign. They, will be laid before you to-morrow at 
eleven. You will miss another day. Twice shall the 
barber tweak the helpless nose of a Blinker. Be 

[89] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

thankful that your sorrows do not embrace a hair-cut." 

44 If ," said Blinker, rising, 44 the act did not involve 
more signing of papers I would take my business out 
of your hands at once. Give me a cigar, please." 

44 If," said Lawyer Oldport, " I had cared to see an 
old friend's son gulped down at one mouthful by 
sharks I would have ordered you to take it away long 
ago. Now, let's quit fooling, Alexander. Besides 
the grinding task of signing your name some thirty 
times to-morrow, I must impose upon you the consid- 
eration of a matter of business — of business, and I 
may say humanity or right. I spoke to you about 
this five years ago, but you would not listen — you 
were in a hurry for a coaching trip, I think. The 
subject has come up again. The property — " 

44 Oh, property ! " interrupted Blinker. 44 Dear 
Mr. Oldport, I think you mentioned to-morrow. Let's 
have it all at one dose to-morrow — signatures and 
property and snappy rubber bands and that smelly 
sealing-wax and all. Have luncheon with me? Well, 
I'll try to remember to drop in at eleven to-morrow. 
Morning." 

The Blinker wealth was in lands, tenements and 
hereditaments, as the legal phrase goes. Lawyer Old- 
port had once taken Alexander in his little pulmonary 
gasoline runabout to see the many buildings and rows 
of buildings theft he owned in the city. For Alex- 
ander was sole heir. They had amused Blinker very 

[90] 



BRICKDUST ROW 

much. The houses looked so incapable of producing 
the big sums of money that Lawyer Oldport kept 
piling up in banks for him to spend. 

In the evening Blinker went to one of his clubs, in- 
tending to dine. Nobody was there except some old 
fogies playing whist who spoke to him with grave 
politeness and glared at him with savage contempt. 
Everybody was out of town. But here he was kept 
in like a schoolboy to write his name over and over on 
pieces of paper. His wounds were deep. 

Blinker turned his back on the fogies, and said to 
the club steward who had come forward with some non- 
sense about cold fresh salmon roe: 

" Symons, I'm going to Coney Island." He said 
it as one might say: " All's off; I'm going to jump 
into the river ." 

The joke pleased Symons. He laughed within a 
sixteenth of a note of the audibility permitted by the 
laws governing employees. 

" Certainly, sir," he tittered. " Of course, sir, I 
think I can see you at Coney, Mr. Blinker." 

Blinker got a paper and looked up the movements 
of Sunday steamboats. Then he found a cab at the 
first corner and drove to a North River pier. He 
stood in line, as democratic as you or I, and bought 
a ticket, and was trampled upon and shoved forward 
until, at last, he found himself on the upper deck of 
the boat staring brazenly at a girl who sat alone upon 

[91] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

a camp stool. But Blinker did not intend to be 
brazen ; the girl was so wonderfully good looking that 
he forgot for one minute that he was the prince incog, 
and behaved just as he did in society. "" 

She was looking at him, too, and not severely. A 
puff of wind threatened Blinker's straw hat. He 
caught it warily and settled it again. The move- 
ment gave the effect of a bow. The girl nodded and 
smiled, and in another instant he was seated at her 
side. She was dressed all in white, she was paler than 
Blinker imagined milkmaids and girls of humble sta- 
tions to be, but she was as tidy as a cherry blossom, 
and her steady, supremely frank gray eyes looked out 
from the intrepid depths of an unshadowed and un- 
troubled soul. 

" How dare you raise your hat tq me? " she asked, 
with a smile-redeemed severity. 

" I didn't," Blinker said, but he quickly covered the 
mistake by extending it to " I didn't know how to 
keep from it after I saw you." 

" I do not allow gentlemen to sit by me to whom 
I have not been introduced," she said, with a sudden 
haughtiness that deceived him. He rose reluctantly, 
but her clear, teasing laugh brought him down to his 
chair again. 

" I guess you weren't going far," she declared, 
with beauty's magnificent self-confidence. 

" Are you going to Coney Island? " asked Blinker. 

[92] 



BRICKDUST ROW 

" Me? " She turned upon him wide-open eyes full 
of bantering surprise. " Why, what a question ! 
Can't you see that I'm riding a bicycle in the park? " 
Her drollery took the form of impertinence. 

" And I am laying brick on a tall factory chimney," 
said Blinker. " Mayn't we see Coney together? I'm 
all alone and I've never been there before." 

" It depends," said the girl, " on how nicely you 
behave. " I'll consider your application until we get 
there." 

Blinker took pains to provide against the rejection 
of his application. He strove to please. To adopt 
the metaphor of his nonsensical phrase, he laid brick 
upon brick on the tall chimney of his devoirs until, at 
length, the structure was stable and complete. The 
manners of the best society come around finally to sim- 
plicity ; and as the girl's way was that naturally, they 
were on a mutual plane of communication from the 
beginning. 

He learned that she was twenty, and her name was 
Florence-; that she trimmed hats in a millinery shop ; 
that she lived in a furnished room with her best chum 
Ella, who was cashier in a shoe store ; and that a glass 
of milk from the bottle on the window-sill and an egg 
that boils itself while you twist up your hair makes 
a breakfast good enough for any one. Florence 
laughed when she heard " Blinker." 

" Well," she said. " It certainly shows that you 

[93] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

have imagination. It gives the * Smiths ' a chance for 
a little rest, anyhow." 

They landed at Coney, and were dashed on the crest 
of a great human wave of mad pleasure-seekers into 
the walks and avenues of Fairyland gone into vaude- 
ville. 

With a curious eye, a critical mind and a fairly 
withheld judgment Blinker considered the temples, 
pagodas and kiosks of popularized delights. Hoi 
polloi trampled, hustled and crowded him. Basket 
parties bumped him; sticky children tumbled, howl- 
ing, under his feet, candying his clothes. Insolent 
youths strolling among the booths with hard-won canes 
under one arm and easily won girls on the other, blew 
defiant smoke from cheap cigars into his face. The 
publicity gentlemen with megaphones, each before his 
own stupendous attraction, roared like Niagara in his 
ears. Music of all kinds that could be tortured from 
brass, reed, hide or string, fought in the air to gain 
space for its vibrations against its competitors. But 
what held Blinker in awful fascination was the mob, 
the multitude, the proletariat shrieking, struggling, 
hurrying, panting, hurling itself in incontinent 
frenzy, with unabashed abandon, into the ridiculous 
sham palaces of trumpery and tinsel pleasures. The 
vulgarity of it, its brutal overriding of all the tenets 
of repression and taste that were held by his caste, 
repelled him strongly. 

[94] 



BRICKDUST ROW 

In the midst of his disgust he turned and looked 
down at Florence by his side. She was ready with 
her quick smile and upturned, happy eyes, as bright 
and clear as the water in trout pools. The eyes were 
saying that they had the right to be shining and 
happy, for was their owner not with her (for the 
present) Man, her Gentleman Friend and holder of the 
keys to the enchanted city of fun? 

Blinker did not read her look accurately, but by 
some miracle he suddenly saw Coney aright. 

He no longer saw a mass of vulgarians seeking 
gross joys. He now looked clearly upon a hundred 
thousand true idealists. Their offenses were wiped 
out. Counterfeit and false though the garish joys 
of these spangled temples were, he perceived that deep 
under the gilt surface they offered saving and apposite 
balm and satisfaction to the restless human heart. 
Here, at least, was the husk of Romance, the empty 
but shining casque of Chivalry, the breath-catching 
though safe-guarded dip and flight of Adventure, the 
magic carpet that transports you to the realms of 
fairyland, though its journey be through but a few 
poor yards of space. He no longer saw a rabble, but 
his brothers seeking the ideal. There was no magic 
of poesy here or of art; but the glamour of their 
imagination turned yellow calico into cloth of gold 
and the megaphones into the silver trumpets of joy's 
heralds. 

[95] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

Almost humbled, Blinker rolled up the shirt sleeves 
of his mind and joined the idealists. 

"You are the lady doctor," he said to Florence. 
" How shall we go about doing this .joll y conglomera- 
^±ion-of fairy tales, incorporated? " 

" We will begin there," said the Princess, pointing 
to a fun pagoda on the edge of the sea, " and we will 
take them all in, one by one." 

They caught the eight o'clock returning boat and 
sat, filled with pleasant fatigue against the rail in the 
bow, listening to the Italians' fiddle and harp. 
Blinker had thrown off all care. The North Woods 
seemed to him an uninhabitable wilderness. What a 
fuss he had made over signing his name — pooh ! he 
could sign it a hundred times. And her name was as 
pretty as she was — " Florence," he said it to him- 
self a great many times. 

As the boat was nearing its pier in the North River 
a two-funnelled, drab, foreign-looking sea-going 
steamer was dropping down toward the bay. The 
boat turned its nose in toward its slip. The steamer 
veered as if to seek midstream, and then yawed, seemed 
to increase its speed and struck the Coney boat on the 
side near the stern, cutting into it with a terrifying 
shock and crash. 

While the six hundred passengers on the boat were 
mostly tumbling about the decks in a shrieking panic 
the captain was shouting at the steamer that it should 

[96] 



BRICKDUST ROW 

not back off and leave the rent exposed for the water 
to enter. But the steamer tore its way out like a 
savage sawfish and cleaved its heartless way, full speed 
ahead. 

The boat began to sink at its stern, but moved 
slowly toward the slip. The passengers were a fran- 
tic mob, unpleasant to behold. 

Blinker held Forence tightly until the boat had 
righted itself. She made no sound or sign of fear. 
He stood on a camp stool, ripped off the slats above 
his head and pulled down a number of the life pre- 
servers. He began to buckle one around Florence. 
The rotten canvas split and the fraudulent granu- 
lated cork came pouring out in a stream. Florence 
caught a handful of it and laughed gleefully. 

" K looks like breakfast food," she said. " Take it 
off. They're no good." 

She unbuckled it and threw it on the deck. She 
made Blinker sit down, and sat by his side and put 
her hand in his. " What'll you bet we don't reach the 
pier all right? " she said, and began to hum a song. 

And now the captain moved among the passengers 
and compelled order. The boat would undoubtedly 
make her slip, he said, and ordered the women and 
children to the bow, where they could land first. The 
boat, very low in the water at the stern, tried gallantly 
to make his promise good. 

[97] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 



" Florence," said Blinker, as she held him close by 
an arm and hand, " I love you." 

" That's what they all say," she replied, lightly. 

" I am not one of * they all,' " he persisted. " I 
never knew any one I could love before. I could pass 
my life with you and be happy every day. I am 
rich. I can make things all right for you." 

" That's what they all say," said the girl again, 
weaving the words into her little, reckless song. 

" Don't say that again," said Blinker in a tone that 
made her look at him in frank surprise. 

" Why shouldn't I say it ? " she asked calmly. 
" They all do." 

" Who are ' they ? ' " he asked, jealous for the first 
time in his existence. 

" Why, the fellows I know." 

" Do you know so many ? " 

" Oh, well, I'm not a wall flower," she answered with 
modest complacency. 

"Where do you see these — these men? At your 
home? " 

" Of course not. I meet them just as I did you. 
Sometimes on the boat, sometimes in the park, some- 
times on the street. I'm a pretty good judge of a 
man. I can tell in a minute if a fellow is one who is 
likely to get fresh." 

" What do you mean by * fresh? ' " 

" Why, try to kiss you — me, I mean." 

[98] 



BRICKDUST ROW 

" Do any of them try that? " asked Blinker, clench- 
ing his teeth. 

" Sure. All men do. You know that." 

" Do you allow them? " 

" Some. Not many. They won't take you out 
anywhere unless you do." 

She turned her head and looked searchingly at 
Blinker. Her eyes were as innocent as a child's. 
There was a puzzled look in them, as though she did 
not understand him. 

"What's wrong about my meeting fellows?" she 
asked, wonderingly. 

" Everything," he answered, almost savagely. 
" Why don't you entertain your company in the house 
where you live? Is it necessary to pick up Tom, Dick 
and Harry on the streets? " 

She kept her absolutely ingenuous eyes upon his. 

" If you could see the place where I live you 
wouldn't ask that. I live in Brickdust Row. They 
call it that because there's red dust from the bricks 
crumbling over everything. I've lived there for more 
than four years. There's no place to receive com- 
pany. You can't have anybody come to your room. 
What else is there to do? A girl has got to meet the 
men, hasn't she? " 

" Yes," he said, hoarsely. " A girl has got to meet 
a — has got to meet the men." 

" The first time one spoke to me on the street," she 

[99] 






THE TRIMMED LAMP 

continued, " I ran home and cried all night. But you 
get used to it. I meet a good many nice fellows at 
church. I go on rainy days and stand in the vestibule 
until one comes up with an umbrella. I wish there 
was a parlor, so I could ask you to call, Mr. Blinker 
— are you really sure it isn't * Smith,' now? " 

The boat landed safely. Blinker had a confused 
impression of walking with the girl through quiet 
crosstown streets until she stopped at a corner and held 
out her hand. 

" I live just one more block over," she said. 
" Thank you for a very pleasant afternoon." 

Blinker muttered something and plunged north- 
ward till he found a cab. A big, gray church loomed 
slowly at his right. Blinker shook his fist at it 
through the window. 

44 1 gave you a thousand dollars last week," he 
cried under his breath, " and she meets them in your 
very doors. There is something wrong; there is 
something wrong." 

At eleven the next day Blinker signed his name 
thirty times with a new pen provided by Lawyer Old- 
port. 

44 Now let me go to the woods," he said surlily. 

44 You are not looking well," said Lawyer Oldport. 
" The trip will do you good. But listen, if you will, 
to that little matter of business of which I spoke to 
you yesterday, and also five years ago. There are 

[100] 



.. * » * 



BRICKDUST ROW 

some buildings, fifteen in number, of which there are 
new five-year leases to be signed. Your father con- 
templated a change in the lease provisions, but never 
made it. He intended that the parlors of these houses 
should not be sub-let, but that the tenants should be 
allowed to use them for reception rooms. These 
houses are in the shopping district, and are mainly 
tenanted by young working girls. As it is they are 
forced to seek companionship outside. This row of 
red brick — " 

Blinker interrupted him with a loud, discordant 
laugh. 

"Brickdust Row for an even hundred," he cried. 
" And I own it. Have I guessed right? " 

" The tenants have some such name for it,"' said 
Lawyer Oldport. 

Blinker arose and jammed his hat down to his eyes. 

" Do what you please with it," he said harshly. 
" Remodel it, burn it, raze it to the ground. But, 
man, it's too late I tell you. It's too late. It's too 
late. It's too late." 



[101] 



THE MAKING OP A NEW YORKER 

BESIDES many other things, Raggles was a poet. 
He was called a tramp ; but that was only an elli ptical ^ 
way of saying that he was a philosopher, an artist, a 
traveller, a naturalist and a discoverer. But most 
of all he was a poet. In all his life he never wrote a 
line of verse; he lived his poetry. His Odyssey 
would have been a Limerick, had it been written. 
But, to linger with the primary proposition, Raggles 
was a poet. 

Raggles's specialty, had he been driven to ink and 
paper, would have been sonnets to the cities. He 
studied cities as women study their reflections in mir- 
rors; as children study the glue and sawdust of a 
dislocated doll; as the men who write about wild ani- 
mals study the cages in the zoo. A city to Raggles 
was not merely a pile of bricks and mortar, peopled 
by a certain number of inhabitants; it was a thing 
with a soul characteristic and distinct; an individual 
con glomera tio n of life, with its own peculiar essence, 
flavor ancTleefing^ Two thousand miles to the north 
and south, east and west, Raggles wandered in poetic 
fervor, taking the cities to his breast. He footed it 
on dusty roads, or sped magnificently in freight cars, 

[102] 







THE MAKING OF A NEW YORKER 

counting time as of no account. And when he had 
found the heart of a city and listened to its secret con- 
fession, he strayed on, restless, to another. Fickle 
Raggles ! — but perhaps he had not met the civic 
corporation that could engage and hold his critical 
fancy. 

Through the ancient poets we have learned that the 
cities are feminine. So they were to poet Raggles; 
and his mind carried a concrete and clear conception 
of the figure that symbolized and typified each one 
that he had wooed. 

Chicago seemed to swoop down upon him with a 
breezy suggestion of Mrs. Partington, plumes and 
patchouli, and to disturb his rest with a soaring and 
^Be&utii'ul song of future promise. But Raggles 
would awake to a sense of shivering cold and a haunt- 
ing impression of ideals lost in a depressing aura of 
potato salad and fish. 

Thus Chicago affected him. Perhaps there is a 
vagueness and inaccuracy in the description ; but that 
is Raggles's fault. He should have recorded his sen- 
sations in magazine poems. 

Pittsburg impressed him as the play of " Othello " 
performed in the Russian language in a railroad 
station by Dockstader's minstrels. A royal and gen- 
erous lady this Pittsburg, though — homely, hearty, 
with flushed face, washing the dishes in a silk dress 
and white kid slippers, and bidding Raggles sit be- 

[103] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

fore the roaring fireplace and drink champagne with 
his pigs' feet and fried potatoes. 

New Orleans had simply gazed down upon him 
from a balcony. He could see her pensive, starry 
eyes and catch the flutter of her fan, and that was 
all. Only once he came face to face with her. It 
was at dawn, when she was flushing the red bricks 
of the banquette with a pail of water. She laughed 
and hummed a ch£BSOIl£tte and filled Raggles's shoes 

with ice-cold water. Allons ! 

■ — - 

Boston construed herself to the poetic Haggles in 
an erratic and singular way. It seemed to him that 
he had drunk cold tea and that the city was a white, 
cold cloth that had been bound tightly around his 
brow to spur him to some unknown but tremendous 
mental effort. And, after all, he came to shovel snow 
for a livelihood; and the cloth, becoming wet, tight- 
ened its knots and could not be removed. 

Indefinite and unintelligible ideas, you will say; 
but your ^isapp ro hatiofl ^ should be tempered with 
gratitude, for these are poets' fancies — and suppose 
you had come upon them in verse ! 

One day Haggles came and laid siege to the heart 
of the great city of Manhattan. She was the great- 
est of all; and he wanted to learn her note in the 
scale; to taste and appraise and classify and solve 
and label her and arrange her with the other cities 
that had given him up the secret of their individ- 

[104] 



THE MAKING OF A NEW YORKER 

uality. And here we cease to be Raggles's translator 
and become his chronicler. 

Raggles landed from a ferry-boat one morning and 
walked into the core of the town with the blas6 air 
of a cosmopolite. He was dressed with care to play 
the role of an "unidentified man." No country, race, 
class, clique, union, party, clan or bowling associa- 
tion could have claimed him. His clothing, which had 
been donated to him piece-meal by citizens of different 
height, but same number of inches around the heart, 
was not yet as uncomfortable to his figure as those 
specimens of raiment, self-measured, that are rail- 
roaded to you by transcontinental tai lors with a suit 
case, suspenders, silk handkerchief and pearl studs as 
a bonus. Without money — as a poet should be — 
but with the ardor of an astronomer discovering a 
new star in the chorus of the milky way, or a man 
who has seen ink suddenly flow from his fountain pen, 
Raggles wandered into the great city. 

Late in the afternoon he drew out of the roar and 
commotion with a look of dumb terror on his counte- 
nance. He was defeated, puzzled, discomfited, fright- 
ened. Other cities had been to him as long primer 
to read; as country maidens quickly to fathom; 
as send-price-of-subscription-with-answer rebuses to 
solve ; as oyster cocktails to swallow ; but here was one 
as cold, glittering, serene, impossible as a four-carat 

[105] 



4 * , 

s * 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

diamond in a window to a lover outside fingering 
damply in his pocket his ribbon-counter salary. 

The greetings of the other cities he had known — 
their homespun kindliness, their human gamut of 
rough charity, friendly curses, ^^garrulojj^ curiosity 
and easily estimated credulity or indifference. This 
city of Manhattan gave him no clue; it was walled 
against him. Like a river of adamant it flowed past 
him in the streets. Never an eye was turned upon 
him; no voice spoke to him. His heart yearned for 
the clap of Pittsburg's sooty hand on his shoulder; 
for Chicago's menacing but social yawp in his ear; 
for the pale andeleemosynary stare through the Bos- 
tonian eyeglass — - even i or the precipitate but unmali- 
cious boot-toe of Louisville or St. Louis. 

On Broadway Haggles, successful suitor of many 
cities, stood* bashful, like any country swain. For 
the first time he experienced th e, poignant humiliation 
of being ignored. And when he tried to reduce this 
brilliant, swiftly changing, ice-cold city to a formula 
he failed utterly. Poet though he was, it offered him 
no color, no similes, no points of comparison, no flaw 
in its polished facets, no handle by which he could 
hold it up and view its shape and structure, as he 
familiarly and often contemptuously had done with 
other towns. The houses were interminable ramparts 
loopholed for defense ; the people were bright but 
bloodle ss spectres pa ssing in sinister and selfish array. 
~~ " [106] 



THE MAKING OF A NEW YORKER 

The thing that weighed heaviest on Raggles's soul 
and clogged his poet's fancy was the spirit of abso- 
lute egotism that seemed to saturate the people as toys 
are saturated with paint. Each one that he consid- 
ered appeared a monster of abominable and insolent 
conceit. Humanity was gone from them; they were 
toddling idols of stone and varnish, worshipping 
themselves and greedy for though oblivious of wor- 
ship from their fellow graven images. Frozen, cruel, 
implacable, impervious, cut to an identical pattern, 
they hurried on their ways like statues brought by 
some miracles to motion, while soul and feeling lay 
unaroused in the reluctant marble. 

Gradually Raggles became conscious of certain 
types. One was an elderly gentleman with a snow- 
white, short beard, pink, unwrinkled face and stony, 
sharp blue eyes, attired in the fashion of a gilded 
youth, who seemed to personify the city's wealth, ripe- 
ness and frigid unconcern. Another type was a 
woman, tall, beautiful, clear as a steel engraving, god- 
dess-like, calm, clothed like the princesses of old, with 
eyes as coldly blue as the reflection of sunlight on 
a glacier. And another was a by-product of this 
town of mari onettes — a broad, swaggering, grim, 
threateningly sedateTellow, with a jowl as large as 
a harvested wheat field, the complexion of a baptized 
infant and the knuckles of a prize-fighter. This type 

[107] 



* * ■ 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

leaned against cigar signs and viewed the world with 
■fea pped Icontn ippl y ^ 

A poet is a sensitive creature, and Raggles soon 
shrivelled in the bleak embrace of the undecipherable. 
The chill, sphynx-like, ironical, illegible, unnatural, 
ruthless expression of the city left him downcast and 
bewildered. Had it no heart? Better the woodpile, 
the scolding of vinegar-faced housewives at back doors, 
the kindly spleen of bartenders behind provincial free- 
lunch counters, the amiable truculence of rural con- 



stables, the kicks, arrests and happy-go-lucky chances 
of the other vulgar, loud, crude cities than this freez- 
ing heartlessness. 

Raggles summoned his courage and sought alms 
from the populace. Unheeding, regardless, they 
passed on without the wink of an eyelash to testify 
that they were conscious of his existence. And then 
he said to himself that this fair but pitiless city of 
Manhattan was without a soul; that its inhabitants 
wer e mani kins jnoved by wires and springs, and that 
he was alone in a great wilderness. 

Raggles started to cross the street. There was a 
blast, a roar, a hissing and a crash as something 
struck him and hurled him over and over six yards 
from where he had been. As he was coming down like 
the stick of a rocket the earth and all the cities thereof 
turned to a fractured dream. 

Raggles opened his eyes. First an odor made it- 

[108] 






THE MAKING OF A NEW YORKER 

self known to him — an odor of the earliest spring 
flowers of Paradise. And then a hand soft as a 
falling petal touched his brow. Bending over him 
was the woman clothed like the princess of old, with 
blue eyes, now soft and humid with human sympathy. 
Under his head on the pavement were silks and furs. 
With Raggles's hat in his hand and with his face 
pinker than ever from a vehement burst of oratory 
against reckless driving, stood the elderly gentleman 
who personified the city's wealth and ripeness. From 
a nearby cafe hurried the by-product with the vast 
jowl and baby complexion, bearing a glass full of a 
crimson fluid that suggested delightful possibilities. 

" Drink dis, sport," said the by-product, holding 
the glass to Raggles's lips. 

Hundreds of people huddled around in a moment, 
their faces wearing the deepest concern. Two flat- 
tering and gorgeous policemen got into the circle and 
pressed back the overplus of Samaritans. An old 
lady in a black shawl spoke loudly of camphor; a 
newsboy slipped one of his papers beneath Raggles's 
elbow, where it lay on the muddy pavement. A brisk 
young man with a notebook was asking for names. 

A bell clanged importantly, and the ambulance 
cleaned a lane through the crowd. A cool surgeon 
slipped into the midst of affairs. 

" How do you feel, old man? " asked the surgeon, 
stooping easily to his task. The princess of silks and 

[109] 






THE TRIMMED LAMP 

satins wiped a red drop or two from Raggles's brow 
with a fragrant cobweb. 

"Me?" said Haggles, with a seraphic smile, "I 
feel fine." 

He had found the heart of his new city. 

In three days they let him leave his cot for the 
convalescent ward in the hospital. He had been in 
there an hour when the attendants hear sounds of 
conflict. Upon investigation they found that Raggles 
had assaulted and damaged a brother convalescent — 
a glowering transient whom a freight train collision 
had sent in to be patched up. 

" What's all this about? " inquired the head nurse. 

" He was runnin' down me town," said Raggles. 

" What town ? " asked the nurse. 

" Noo York," said Raggles. 



[110] 



• •. . * 

• * • » • 



VANITY AND SOME SABLES 

WHEN " Kid " Brady was sent to the ropes by 
Molly McKeever's blue-black eyes he withdrew from 
the Stovepipe Gang. So much for the power of a 
colleen's blanderin' tongue and stubborn true-hearted- 
ness. If you are a man who read this, may such 
an influence be sent you before 2 o'clock to-morrow; 
if you are a woman, may your Pomeranian greet you 
this morning with a cold nose — a sign of doghealth 
and your happiness. 

The Stovepipe Gang borrowed its name from a sub- 
district of the city called the " Stovepipe," which is a 
narrow and natural extension of the familiar district 
known as " Hell's Kitchen." The " Stovepipe " strip 
of town runs along Eleventh and Twelfth avenues on 
the river, and bends a hard and sooty elbow around 
little, lost homeless DeWitt Clinton park. Consider 
that a stovepipe in an important factor in any kitchen 
and the situation is analyzed. The chefs in " Hell's 
Kitchen " are many, and the " Stovepipe " gang 
wears the cordon blue. 

The members of this unchartered but widely known 
brotherhood appeared to pass their time on street cor- 
ners arrayed like the lilies of the conservatory and 

[111] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

busy with nail files and penknives. Thus displayed 
as a guarantee of good faith, they carried on an 
innocuous conversation in a 200-word vocabulary, to 
the casual observer as innocent and immaterial as that 
heard in the clubs seven blocks to the east. 

But off exhibition the " Stovepipes " were not mere 
street corner ornaments addicted to posing and mani- 
curing. Their serious occupation was the separating 
of citizens from their coin and valuables. Preferably 
this was done by wierd and singular tricks without 
noise or bloodshed; but whenever the citizen honored 
by their attentions refused to impoverish himself 
gracefully his objections came to be spread finally 
upon some police station blotter or hospital register. 

The police held the " Stovepipe " gang in perpet- 
ual suspicion and respect. As the nightingale's liq- 
uid note is heard in the deepest shadows so along the 
" Stovepipe's " dark and narrow confines the whistle 
for reserves punctures the dull ear of night. When- 
ever there was smoke in the " Stovepipe " the 
tasselled men in blue knew there was fire in " HelPs 
Kitchen." 

" Kid " Brady promised Molly to be good. 
" Kid " was the vainest, the strongest, the wariest 
and the most successful plotter in the gang. There- 
fore, the boys were sorry to give him up. 

But they witnessed his fall to a virtuous life with- 
out protest. For, in the Kitchen it is considered 

[112] 



VANITY AND SOME SABLES 

neither unmanly nor improper for a guy to do as his 
girl advises. 

Black her eye for love's sake, if you will; but it 
is all-to-the-good business to do a thing when she 
wants you to do it. 

" Turn off the hydrant," said the Kid, one night 
when Molly, tearful, besought him to amend his ways. 
" I'm going to cut out the gang. You for mine, 
and the simple life on the side. Fll tell you, Moll — 
I'll get work ; and in a year we'll get married. I'll do 
it for you. We'll get a flat and a flute, and a sew- 
ing machine and a rubber plant and live as honest 
as we can." 

" Oh, Kid," sighed Molly, wiping the powder off 
his shoulder with her handkerchief, " I'd rather hear 
you say that than to own all of New York. And we 
can be happy on so little ! " 

The Kid looked down at his speckless cuffs and 
shining patent leathers with a suspicion of melancholy. 

"It'll hurt hardest in the rags department," said 
he. " Fve kind of always liked to rig out swell when 
I could. You know how I hate cheap things, Moll. 
This suit set me back sixty-five. Anything in the 
wearing apparel line has got to be just so, or it's 
to the misfit parlors for it, for mine. If I work 
I won't have so much coin to hand over to the little 
man with the big shears." 

[113] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" Never mind, Kid. I'll like you just as much in 
a blue jumper as I would in a red automobile." 

Before the Kid had grown large enough to knock 
out his father he had been compelled to learn the 
plumber's art. So now back to this honorable and 
useful profession he returned. But it was as an as- 
sistant that he engaged himself ; and it is the master 
plumber and not the assistant, who wears diamonds 
as large as hailstones and looks contemptuously upon 
the marble colonades of Senator Clark's mansion. 

Eight months went by as smoothly and surely as 
though they had " elapsed " on a theater program. 
The Kid worked away at his pipes and solder with 
no symptoms of backsliding. The Stovepipe gang 
continued its piracy on the high avenues, cracked 
policemen's heads, held up late travelers, invented new 
methods of peaceful plundering, copied Fifth avenue's 
cut of clothes and neckwear fancies and comported 
itself according to its lawless bylaws. But the Kid 
stood firm and faithful to his Molly, even though the 
polish was gone from his fingernails and it took him 
15 minutes to tie his purple silk ascot so that the 
worn places would not show. 

One evening he brought a mysterious bundle with 
him to Molly's house. 

" Open that, Moll ! " he said in his large, quiet 
way. " It's for you." 

Molly's eager fingers tore off the wrappings. She 

[114] 



VANITY AND SOME SABLES 

shrieked aloud, and in rushed a sprinkling of little 
McKeevers, and Ma McKeever, dishwashy, but an un- 
deniable relative of the late Mrs. Eve. 

Again Molly shrieked, and something dark and long 
and sinuous flew and enveloped her neck like an ana- 
conda. 

" Russian sables," said the Kid, pridefully, enjoy- 
ing the sight of Molly's round cheek against the cling- 
ing fur. " The real thing. They don't grow any- 
thing in Russia too good for you, Moll." 

Molly plunged her hands into the muff, overturned 
a row of the family infants and flew to the mirror. 
Hint for the beauty column. To make bright eyes, 
rosy cheeks and a bewitching smile: Recipe — one 
set Russian sables. Apply. 

When they were alone Molly became aware of a 
small cake of the ice of common sense floating down 
the full tide of her happiness. 

" You're a bird, all right, Kid," she admitted grate- 
fully. " I never had any furs on before in my life. 
But ain't Russian sables awful expensive? Seems to 
me I've heard they were." 

" Have I ever chucked any bargain-sale stuff at 
you, Moll?" asked the Kid, with calm dignity. 
" Did you ever notice me leaning on the remnant 
counter or peering in the window of the five-and-ten? 
Call that scarf $250 and the muff $175 and you won't 
make any mistake about the price of Russian sables. 

[115] 



u 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

The swell goods for me. Say, they look fine on you, 
Moll." 

Molly hugged the sables to her bosom in rapture. 
And then her smile went away little by little, and she 
looked the Kid straight in, the eye sadly and steadily. 

He knew what every look of hers meant; and he 
laughed with a faint flush upon his face. 

Cut it out," he said, with affectionate roughness. 

I told you I was done with that. I bought 'em and 
paid for 'em, all right, with my own money ? " 

Out of the money you worked for, Kid? Out of 
$75 a month? " 

" Sure. I been saving up." 

"Let's see — saved $425 in eight months, Kid?" 

" Ah, let up," said the Kid, with some heat. " I 
had some money when I went to work. Do you 
think I've been holding 'em up again? I told you 
I'd quit. They're paid for on the square. Put 'em 
on and come out for a walk." 

Molly calmed her doubts. Sables are soothing. 
Proud as a queen she went forth in the streets at the 
Kid's side. In all that region of low-lying streets Rus- 
sian sables had never been seen before. The word sped, 
and doors and windows blossomed with heads eager to 
see the swell furs Kid Brady had given his girl. All 
down the street there were " Oh's " and "Ah's," and 
the reported fabulous sum paid for the sables was 
passed from lip to lip, increasing as it went. At her 

[116] 



VANITY AND SOME SABLES 

right elbow sauntered the Kid with the air of princes. 
Work had not diminished his love of pomp and show 
and his passion for the costly and genuine. On a 
corner they saw a group of the Stovepipe Gang loaf- 
ing, immaculate. They raised their hats to the Kid's 
girl and went on with their calm, unaccented palaver. 

Three blocks behind the admired couple strolled 
Detective Ransom, of the Central office. Ransom was 
the only detective on the force who could walk abroad 
with safety in the Stovepipe district. He was fair 
dealing and unafraid and went there with the hypothe- 
sis that the inhabitants were human. Many liked 
him, and now and then one would tip off to him some- 
thing that he was looking for. 

" What's the excitement down the street?" asked 
Ransom of a pale youth in a red sweater. 

" Dey're out rubberin' at a set of buffalo robes Kid 
Brady staked his girl to," answered the youth. 
" Some say he paid $900 for de skins. Dey're swell 
all right enough." 

" I hear Brady has been working at his old trade 
for nearly a year," said the detective. " He doesn't 
travel with the gang any more, does he? " 

" He's workin', all right," said the red sweater, 
" but — say, sport, are you trailin' anything in the 
fur line? A job in a plumbin' shop don't match wid 
dem skins de Kid's girl's got on." 

Ransom overtook the strolling couple on an empty 

[117] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

street near the river bank. He touched the Kid's arm 
from behind. 

" Let me see you a moment, Brady ," he said, 
quietly. His eye rested for a second on the long 
fur scarf thrown stylishly back over Molly's left 
shoulder. The Kid, with his old-time police hating 
frown on his face, stepped a yard or two aside with 
the detecive. 

" Did you go to Mrs. Hethcote's on West 7 — th 
street yesterday to fix a leaky water pipe?" asked 
Ransom. 

" I did," said the Kid. " What of it? " 

" The lady's $1,000 set of Russian sables went out 
of the house about the same time you did. The de- 
scription fits the ones this lady has on." 

" To h — Harlem with you," cried the Kid, 
angrily. " You know I've cut out that sort of thing, 
Ransom. I bought them sables yesterday at — " 

The Kid stopped short. 

" I know you've been working straight lately," said 
Ransom. " I'll give you every chance. I'll go with 
you where you say you bought the furs and investi- 
gate. The lady can wear 'em along with us and no- 
body'll be on. That's fair, Brady." 

" Come on," agreed the Kid, hotly. And then he 
stopped suddenly in his tracks and looked with an odd 
smile at Molly's distressed and anxious face. 

No use," he said, grimly. " They're the Heth- 

[H8] 



M 



VANITY AND SOME SABLES 

cote sables, all right. You'll have to turn 'em over, 
Moll, but they ain't too good for you if they cost 
a million." 

Molly, with anguish in her face, hung upon the 
Kid's arm. 

" Oh, Kiddy, you've broke my heart," she said. " I 
was so proud of you — and now they'll do you — 
and where's our happiness gone? " 

" Go home," said the Kid, wildly. " Come on, 
Ransom — take the furs. Let's get away from here. 
Wait a minute — I've a good mind to — no, I'll be 
d — if I can do it — run along, Moll — I'm ready, 
Ransom." 

Around the corner of a lumber-yard came Police- 
man Kohen on his way to his beat along the river. 
The detective signed to him for assistance. Kohen 
joined the group. Ransom explained. 

" Sure," said Kohen. " I hear about those saples 
dat vas stole. You say you have dem here? " 

Policeman Kohen took the end of Molly's late scarf 
in his hands and looked at it closely. 

" Once," he said, " I sold furs in Sixth avenue. 
Yes, dese are saples. Dey come from Alaska. Dis 
scarf is vort $12 and dis muff — " 

" Biff ! " came the palm of the Kid's powerful hand 
upon the policeman's mouth. Kohen staggered and 
rallied. Molly screamed. The detective threw him- 

[119] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

self upon Brady and with Kohen's aid got the nippers 
on his wrist. 

" The scarf is vort $12 and the muff is vort $9," 
persisted the policeman. "Vot is dis talk about 
$1,000 saples? " 

The Kid sat upon a pile of lumber and his face 
turned dark red. 

" Correct, Solomonski ! " he declared, viciously. " I 
paid $21.50 for the set. I'd rather have got six 
months and not have told it. Me, the swell guy that 
wouldn't look at anything cheap! I'm a plain 
bluffer. Moll — my salary couldn't spell sables in 
Russian." 

Molly cast herself upon his neck. 

" What do I care for all the sables and money in 
the world," she cried. " It's my Kiddy I want. Oh, 
you dear, stuck-up, crazy blockhead ! " 

" You can take dose nippers off," said Kohen to 
the detective. " Before I leaf de station de report 
come in dat de lady vind her saples — hanging in her 
wardrobe. Young man, I excuse you dat punch in 
my vace — dis von time." 

Ransom handed Molly her furs. Her eyes were 
smiling upon the Kid. She wound the scarf and 
threw the end over her left shoulder with a duchess' 
grace. 

" A gouple of young vools," said Policeman Kohen 
to Ransom : " come on away." 

[120] 



THE SOCIAL TRIANGLE 

A T the stroke of six Ikey Snigglef ritz laid down his 
goose* Ikey was a tailor's apprentice. Are there 
tailor's apprentices nowadays? 

At any rate, Ikey toiled and snipped and basted 
and pressed and patched and sponged all day in the 
steamy fetor of a tailor-shop. But when work was 
done Ikey hitched his wagon to such stars as his firma- 
ment let shine. 

It was Saturday night, and the boss laid twelve 
begrimed and begrudged dollars in his hand. Ikey 
dabbled discreetly in water, donned coat, hat and 
collar with its frazzled tie and chalcedony pin, and 
set forth in pursuit of his ideals. 

For each of us, when our day's work is done, must 
seek our ideal, whether it be love or pinochle or lob- 
ster & la Newburg, or the sweet silence of the musty 
bookshelves. 

Behold Ikey as he ambles up the street beneath the 
roaring " El " between the rows of reeking sweat- 
shops. Pallid, stooping, insignificant, squalid, doomed 
to exist forever in penury of body and mind, yet, 
as he swings his cheap cane and projects the noisome 
inhalations from his cigarette, you perceive that he 

[121] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

nurtures in his narrow bosom the bacillus of society. 

Ikey's legs carried him to and into that famous 

place of entertainment known as the Cafe* Maginnis 

— famous because it was the rendezvous of Billy Mc- 
Mahan, the greatest man, the most wonderful man, 
Ikey thought, that the world had ever produced. 

Billy McMahan was the district leader. Upon him 
the Tiger purred, and his hand held manna to scatter. 
Now, as Ikey entered, McMahan stood, flushed and 
triumphant and mighty, the centre of a huzzaing con- 
course of his lieutenants and constituents. It seems 
there had been an election; a signal victory had been 
won; the city had been swept back into line by a re- 
sistless besom of ballots. 

Ikey slunk along the bar and gazed, breath-quick- 
ened, at his idol. 

How magnificent was Billy, McMahan, with his 
great, smooth, laughing face ; his gray eye, shrewd as 
a chicken hawk's; his diamond ring, his voice like 
a bugle call, his prince's air, his plump and active 
roll of money, his clarion call to friend and comrade 

— oh, what a king of men he was ! How he obscured 
his lieutenants, though they themselves loomed large 
and serious, blue of chin and important of mien, with 
hands buried deep in the pockets of their short over- 
coats ! But Billy — oh, what small avail are words 
to paint for you his glory as seen by Ikey Sniggle 
fritz! 

[122] 



THE SOCIAL TRIANGLE 

The Cafe Maginnis rang to the note of victory. 
The white-coated bartenders threw themselves feat- 
fully upon bottle, cork and glass. From a score 
of clear Havanas the air received its paradox of 
clouds. The leal and the hopeful shook Billy Mc- 
Mahan's hand. And there was born suddenly in the 
worshipful soul of Ikey Snigglefritz an audacious, 
thrilling impulse. 

He stepped forward into the little cleared space in 
which majesty moved, and held out his hand. 

Billy McMahan grasped it unhesitatingly, shook 
it and smiled. 

Made mad now by the gods who were about to 
destroy him, Ikey threw away his scabbard and 
charged upon Olympus. 

" Have a drink with me, Billy ," he said familiarly, 
"you and your friends?" 

" Don't mind if I do, old man," said the great 
leader, " just to keep the ball rolling." 

The last spark of Ikey's reason fled. 

" Wine," he called to the bartender, waving a trem- 
bling hand. 

The corks of three bottles were drawn; the cham- 
pagne bubbled in the long row of glasses set upon 
the bar. Billy McMahan took his and nodded, with 
his beaming smile, at Ikey. The lieutenants and sat- 
ellites took theirs and growled " Here's to you." Ikey 
took his nectar in delirium. All drank. 

[188] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

Ikey threw his week's wages in a crumpled roll 
upon the bar. 

" C'rect," said the bartender, smoothing the twelve 
one-dollar notes. The crowd surged around Billy 
McMahan again. Some one was telling how Bran- 
nigan fixed 'em over in the Eleventh. Ikey leaned 
against the bar a while, and then went out. 

He went down Hester street and up Chrystie, and 
down Delancey to where he lived. And there his 
women folk, a bibulous mother and three dingy sis- 
ters, pounced upon him for his wages. And at his 
confession they shrieked and objurgated him in the 
pithy rhetoric of the locality. 

But even as they plucked at him and struck him 
Ikey remained in his ecstatic trance of joy. His head 
was in the clouds; the star was drawing his wagon. 
Compared with what he had achieved the loss of 
wages and the bray of women's tongues were slight 
affairs. 

He had shaken the hand of Billy McMahan. 

Billy McMahan had a wife, and upon her visiting 
cards was engraved the name " Mrs. William Dar- 
ragh McMahan." And there was a certain vexation 
attendant upon these cards; for, small as they were, 
there were houses in which they could not be inserted. 
Billy McMahan was a dictator in politics, a four- 
walled tower in business, a mogul, dreaded, loved and 

[124] 



THE SOCIAL TRIANGLE 

obeyed among his own people. He was growing 
rich ; the daily papers had a dozen men on his trail to 
chronicle his every word of wisdom; he had been hon- 
ored in caricature holding the Tiger cringing in 
leash. 

But the heart of Billy was sometimes sore within 
him. There was a race of men from which he stood 
apart but that he viewed with the eye of Moses look- 
ing over into the promised land. He, too, had ideals, 
even as had Ikey Snigglef ritz ; and sometimes, hope- 
less of attaining them, his own solid success was as 
dust and ashes in his mouth. And Mrs. William Dar- 
ragh McMahan wore a look of discontent upon her 
plump but pretty face, and the very rustle of her 
silks seemed a sigh. 

There was a brave and conspicuous assemblage in 
the dinning salon of a noted hostelry where Fashion 
loves to display her charms. At one table sat Billy 
McMahan and his wife. Mostly silent they were, but 
the accessories they enjoyed little needed the indorse- 
ment of speech. Mrs. McMahan's diamonds were 
outshone by few in the room. The waiter bore the 
costliest brands of wine to their table. In evening 
dress, with an expression of gloom upon his smooth 
and massive countenance, you would look in vain for 
a more striking figure than Billy's 

Four tables away sat alone a tall, slender man, 
about thirty, with thoughtful, melancholy eyes, a Van 

[1*5] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

Dyke beard and peculiarly white, thin hands. He 
was dining on filet mignon, dry toast and appolli- 
naris. That man was Cortlandt Van Duyckink, a 
man worth eighty millions, who inherited and held 
a sacred seat in the exclusive inner circle of society. 

Billy McMahan spoke to no one around him, be- 
cause he knew no one. Van Duyckink kept his eyes 
on his plate because he knew that every eye present 
was hungry to catch his. He could bestow knight- 
hood and prestige by a nod, and he was chary of 
creating a too extensive nobility. 

And then Billy McMahan conceived and accom- 
plished the most startling and audacious act of his 
life. He rose deliberately and walked over to Cort- 
landt Van Duyckink's table and held out his hand. 

" Say, Mr. Van Duyckink," he said, " I've heard 
you was talking about starting some reforms among 
the poor people down in my district. Fm McMahan, 
you know. Say, now, if that's straight I'll do all I 
can to help you. And what I says goes in that neck 
of the woods, don't it? Oh, say, I rather guess it 
does." 

Van Duyckink's rather sombre eyes lighted up. 
He rose to his lank height and grasped Billy Mc- 
Mahan's hand. 

" Thank you, Mr. McMahan," he said, in his deep, 
serious tones. " I have been thinking of doing some 
work of that sort. I shall be glad of your assistance. 

[186] 



THE SOCIAL TRIANGLE 

It pleases me to have become acquainted with you." 

Billy walked back to his seat. His shoulder was 
tingling from the accolade bestowed by royalty. A 
hundred eyes were now turned upon him in envy and 
new admiration. Mrs. William Darragh McMahan 
trembled with ecstasy, so that her diamonds smote the 
eye almost with pain. And now it was apparent that 
at many tables there were those who suddenly remem- 
bered that they enjoyed Mr. McMahan's acquaintance. 
He saw smiles and bows about him. He became en- 
veloped in the aura of dizzy greatness. His campaign 
coolness deserted him. 

" Wine for that gang ! " he commanded the waiter, 
pointing with his finger. " Wine over there. Wine 
to those three gents by that green bush. Tell 'em 
it's on me. D n it ! Wine for everybody ! " 

The waiter ventured to whisper that it was perhaps 
inexpedient to carry out the order, in consideration of 
the dignity of the house and its custom. 

" All right," said Billy, " if it's against the rules. 
I wonder if 'twould do to send my friend Van Duyc- 
kink a bottle. No? Well, it'll flow all right at the 
caffy to-night, just the same. It'll be rubber boots 
for anybody who comes in there any time up to 2 
A. M." 

Billy McMahan was happy. 

He had shaken the hand of Cortlandt Van Duyc- 

kink. 

* * * 

[127] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

The big pale-gray auto with its shining metal work 
looked out of place moving slowly among the push- 
carts and trash-heaps on the lower east side. So did 
Cortlandt Van Duyckink, with his aristocratic face 
and white, thin hands, as he steered carefully between 
the groups of ragged, scurrying youngsters in the 
streets. And so did Miss Constance Schuyler, with 
her dim, ascetic beauty, seated at his side. 

" Oh, Cortlandt," she breathed, " isn't it sad that 
human beings have to live in such wretchedness and 
poverty? And you — how noble it is of you to think 
of them, to give your time and money to improve their 
condition ! " 

Van Duyckink turned his solemn eyes upon her. 

" It is little," he said, sadly, " that I can do. The 
question is a large one, and belongs to society. But 
even individual effort is not thrown away. Look, 
Constance! On this street I have arranged to build 
soup kitchens, where no one who is hungry will be 
turned away. And down this other street are the old 
buildings that I shall cause to be torn down and there 
erect others in place of those death-traps of fire and 
disease." 

Down Delancey slowly crept the pale-gray auto. 
Away from it toddled coveys of wondering, tangle- 
haired, barefooted, unwashed children. It stopped 
before a crazy brick structure, foul and awry. 

Van Duyckink alighted to examine at a better per- 

[128] 



THE SOCIAL TRIANGLE 

spective one of the leaning walls. Down the steps of 
the building came a young man who seemed to epi- 
tomize its degradation, squalor and infelicity — a nar- 
row-chested, pale, unsavory young man, puffing at a 
cigarette. 

Obeying a sudden impulse, Van Duyckink stepped 
out and warmly grasped the hand of what seemed to 
him a living rebuke. 

" I want to know you people," he said, sincerely. 
" I am going to help you as much as I can. We shall 
be friends." 

As the auto crept carefully away Courtlandt Van 
Duyckink felt an unaccustomed glow about his heart. 
He was near to being a happy man. 

He had shaken the hand of Ikey Snigglef ritz. 



[189] 



THE PURPLE DRESS 

WE are to consider the shade known as purple. It 
is a color justly, in repute among the sons and daugh- 
ters of man. Emperors claim it for their especial dye. 
Good fellows everywhere seek to bring their noses to 
the genial hue that follows the commingling of the red 
and blue. We say of princes that they are born 
to the purple; and no doubt they are, for the colic 
tinges their faces with the royal tint equally with the 
snub-nosed countenance of a woodchopper's brat. All 
women love it — when it is the fashion. 

And now purple is being worn. You notice it on 
the streets. Of course other colors are quite stylish 
as well — in fact, I saw a lovely thing the other day 
in olive green albatross, with a triple-lapped flounce 
skirt trimmed with insert squares of silk, and a draped 
fichu of lace opening over a shirred vest and double 
puff sleeves with a lace band holding two gathered 
frills — but you see lots of purple too. Oh, yes, you 
do; just take a walk down Twenty-third street any 
afternoon. 

Therefore Maida — the girl with the big brown 
eyes and cinnamon-colored hair in the Bee-Hive Store 
— said to Grace — the girl with the rhinestone brooch 

[180] 



THE PURPLE DRESS 

and pepperment-pepsin flavor to her speech — " I'm 
going to have a purple dress — a tailor-made purple 
dress — for Thanksgiving." 

" Oh, are you," said Grace, putting away some 7^ 
gloves into the 6% box. " Well, it's me for red. 
You see more red on Fifth avenue. And the men all 
seem to like it." 

" I like purple best," said Maida. . " And old 
Schlegel has promised to make it for $8. It's going 
to be lovely. I'm going to have a plaited skirt and 
a blouse coat trimmed with a band of galloon under a 
white cloth collar with two rows of — " 

" Sly boots ! " said Grace with an educated wink. 

" — soutache braid over a surpliced white vest ; and 
a plaited basque and — " 

" Sly boots — sly boots ! " repeated Grace. 
" — plaited gigbt sleeves with a drawn velvet ribbon 
over an inside cuff. What do you mean by saying 
that?" 

" You think Mr. Ramsay likes purple. I heard 
him say yesterday he thought some of the dark shades 
of red were stunning." 

" I don't care," said Maida. " I prefer purple, and 
them that don't like it can just take the other side 
of the street." 

Which suggests the thought that after all, the fol- 
lowers of purple may be subject to slight delusions. 
Danger is near when a maiden thinks she can wear 

[131] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

purple regardless of complexions and opinions ; and 
when Emperors think their purple robes will wear for- 
ever. 

Maida had saved $18 after eight months of econ- 
omy; and this had bought the goods for the purple 
dress and paid Schlegel $4 on the making of it. On 
the day before Thanksgiving she would have just 
enough to pay the remaining $4. And then for a 
holiday in a new dress — can earth offer anything 
more enchanting? 

Old Bachman, the proprietor of the Bee-Hive Store, 
always gave a Thanksgiving dinner to his employees. 
On every one of the subsequent 364 days, excusing 
Sundays, he would remind them of the joys of the 
past banquet and the hopes of the coming ones, thus 
inciting them to increased enthusiasm in work. The 
dinner was given in the store on one of the long tables 
in the middle of the room. They tacked wrapping 
paper over the front windows; and the turkeys and 
other good things were brought in the back way from 
the restaurant on the corner. You will perceive that 
the Bee-Hive was not a fashionable department store, 
with escalators and pompadours. It was almost small 
enough to be called an emporium ; and you could act- 
ually go in there and get waited on and walk out 
again. And always at the Thanksgiving dinners Mr. 
Ramsay — 

Oh, bother ! I should have mentioned Mr. Ramsay 

[182] 



THE PURPLE DRESS 

first of all. He is more important than purple or 
green, or even the red cranberry sauce. 

Mr. Ramsay was the head clerk; and as far as I 
am concerned I am for him. He never pinched the 
girls' arms when he passed them in dark comers of 
the store ; and when he told them stories when business 
was dull and the girls giggled and said: "Oh, 
pshaw ! " it wasn't G. Bernard they meant at all. 
Besides being a gentleman, Mr. Ramsay was queer 
and original in other ways. He was a health crank, 
and believed that people should never, eat anything 
that was good for them. He was violently opposed 
to anybody being comfortable, and coming in out of 
snow storms, or wearing overshoes, or taking medicine, 
or coddling themselves in any way. Every one of the 
ten girls in the store had little pork-chop-and-fried- 
onion dreams every night of becoming Mrs. Ramsay. 
For, next year old Bachman was going to take him in 
for a partner. And each one of them knew that if 
she should catch him she would knock those cranky 
health notions of his sky high before the wedding 
cake indigestion was over. 

Mr. Ramsay was master of ceremonies at the din- 
ners. Always they had two Italians in to play a 
violin and harp and had a little dance in the store. 

And here were two dresses being conceived to charm 
Ramsay — one purple and the other red. Of course, 
the other eight girls were going to have dresses too, 

[188] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

but they didn't count. Very likely they'd wear some 
shirt-waist-and-black-skirt-affairs — nothing as re- 
splendent as purple or red. 

Grace had saved her money, too. She was going to 
buy her dress ready-made. Oh, what's the use of 
bothering with a tailor — when you've got a figger 
its easy to get a fit — the ready-made are intended for 
a perfect figger — except I have to have 'em all taken 
in at the waist — the average figger is so large 
waisted. 

The night before Thanksgiving came. Maida hur- 
ried home, keen and bright with the thoughts of the 
blessed morrow. Her thoughts were of purple, but 
they were white themselves — the joyous enthusiasm 
of the young for the pleasures that youth must have 
or wither. She knew purple would become her, and 
— for the thousandth time she tried to assure herself 
that it was purple Mr. Ramsey said he liked and not 
red. She was going home first to get the $4 wrapped 
in a piece of tissue paper in the bottom drawer of her 
dresser, and then she was going to pay Schlegel and 
take the dress home herself. 

Grace lived in the same house. She occupied the 
hall room above Maida's. 

At home Maida found clamor and confusion. The 
landlady's tongue clattering sourly in the halls like a 
churn dasher dabbling in buttermilk. And then Grace 

[184] 



THE PURPLE DRESS 

came down to her room crying with eyes as red as any 
dress. 

" She says Pve got to get out," said Grace. " The 
old beast. Because I owe her $4. " She's put my 
trunk in the hall and locked the door. I can't go any- 
where else. I haven't got a cent of money." 

" You had some yesterday," said Maida. 

" I paid it on my dress," said Grace. " I thought 
she'd wait till next week for the rent." 

Sniffle, sniffle, sob, sniffle. 

Out came — out it had to come — Maida's $4. 

" You blessed darling," cried Grace, now a rain- 
bow instead of sunset. " I'll pay the mean old thing 
and then Fm going to try on my dress. I think it's 
heavenly. Come up and look at it. Pll pay the 
money back, a dollar a week — honest I will." 

Thanksgiving. 

The dinner was to be at noon. At a quarter to 
twelve Grace switched into Maida's room. Yes, she 
looked charming. Red was her color. Maida sat by 
the window in her old cheviot skirt and blue waist 
darning a st — . Oh, doing fancy work. 

"Why, goodness me! ain't you dressed yet?" 
shrilled the red one. " How does it fit in the back? 
Don't you think these velvet tabs look awful swell? 
Why ain't you dressed, Maida? " 

" My dress didn't get finished in time," said Maida. 
" Pm not going to the dinner." 

[135] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" That's too bad. Why, Pm awful sorry Maida. 
Why don't you put on anything and come along — 
it's just the store folks, you know, and they won't 
mind." 

" I was set on my purple," said Maida. " If I 
can't have it I won't go at all. Don't bother about 
me. Run along or you'll be late. You look awful 
nice in red." 

At her window Maida sat through the long morning 
and past the time of the dinner at the store. In her 
mind she could hear the girls shrieking over a pull- 
bone, could hear old Bachman's roar over his own 
deeply-concealed jokes, could see the diamonds of fat 
Mrs. Bachman, who came to the store only on Thanks- 
giving days, could see Mr. Ramsey moving about alert, 
kindly, looking to the comfort of all. 

At four in the afternoon, with an expressionless face 
and a lifeless air she slowly made her way to Schlegel's 
shop and told him she could not pay the $4 due on the 
dress. 

" Gott ! " cried Schlegel, angrily. " For what do 
you look so glum? Take him away. He is ready. 
Pay me some time. Haf I not seen you pass mine 
shop every day in two years? If I make clothes is 
it that I do not know how to read beoples because? 
You will pay me some time when you can. Take him 
away. He is made goot; and if you look bretty in 
him all right. So. Pay me when you can.' 

[136] 



» 



THE PURPLE DRESS 

Maida breathed a millionth part of the thanks in her 
heart, and hurried away with her dress. As she left 
the shop a smart dash of rain struck upon her face. 
She smiled and did not feel it. 

Ladies who shop in carriages, you do not under- 
stand. Girls whose wardrobes are charged to the old 
man's account, you cannot begin to comprehend — ■ 
you could not understand why Maida did not feel the 
cold dash of the Thanksgiving rain. 

At five o'clock she went out upon the street wearing 
her purple dress. The rain had increased, and it beat 
down upon her in a steady, wind-blown pour. People 
were scurrying home and to cars with close-held um- 
brellas and tight buttoned raincoats. Many of them 
turned their heads to marvel at this beautiful, serene, 
happy-eyed girl in the purple dress walking through 
the storm as though she were strolling in a garden 
under summer skies. 

I say you do not understand it, ladies of the full 
purse and varied wardrobe. You do not know what 
it is to live with a perpetual longing for pretty things 
— to starve eight months in order to bring a purple 
dress and a holiday together. What difference if it 
rained, hailed, blew, snowed, cycloned? 

Maida had no umbrella nor overshoes. She had 
her purple dress and she walked abroad. Let the 
elements do their worst. A starved heart must have 

[137] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

one crumb during a year. The rain ran down and 
dripped from her fingers. 

Some one turnejl a corner and blocked her way. 
She looked up into Mr. Ramsey's eyes, sparkling with 
admiration and interest. 

" Why, Miss Maida," said he, " you look simply 
magnificent in your new dress. I was greatly dis- 
appointed not to see you at our dinner. And of all 
the girls I ever knew, you show the greatest sense and 
intelligence. There is nothing more healthful and 
invigorating than braving the weather as you are 
doing. May I walk with you? " 

And Maida blushed and sneezed. 



[138] 



THE FOREIGN POLICY OF COMPANY 99 

JOHN BYRNES, hose-cart driver of Engine Com- 
pany No. 99, was afflicted with what his comrades 
called Japanitis. 

Byrnes had a war map spread permanently upon 
a table in the second story of the engine-house, and he 
could explain to you at any hour of the day or night 
the exact positions, conditions and intentions of both 
the Russian and Japanese armies. He had little clus- 
ters of pins stuck in the map which represented the 
opposing forces, and these he moved about from day 
to day in conformity with the war news in the daily 
papers. 

Whenever the Japs won a victory John Byrnes 
would shift his pins, and then he would execute a war 
dance of delight, and the other firemen would hear him 
yell : " Go it, you blamed little, sawed-off , huckle- 
berry-eyed, monkey-faced hot tamales! Eat 'em up, 
you little sleight-o'-hand, bow-legged bull terriers — 
give 'em another of them Yalu looloos, and you'll eat 
rice in St. Petersburg. Talk about your Russians — 
say, wouldn't they give you a painsky when it comes 
to a scrapovitch?" 

Not even on the fair island of Nippon was there a 

[189] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

more enthusiastic champion of the Mikado's men. 
Supporters of the Russian cause did well to keep clear 
of Engine-House No. 99. 

Sometimes all thoughts of the Japs left John 
Byrnes's head. That was when the alarm of fire had 
sounded and he was strapped in his driver's seat on the 
swaying cart, guiding Erebus and Joe, the finest team 
in the whole department — according to the crew of 
99. 

Of all the codes adopted by man for regulating his 
actions toward his fellow-mortals, the greatest are 
these — the code of King Arthur's Knights of the 
Round Table, the Constitution of the United States 
and the unwritten rules of the New York Fire De- 
partment. The Round Table methods are no longer 
practicable since the invention of street cars and 
breach-of -promise suits, and our Constitution is being 
found more and more unconstitutional every day, so 
the code of our firemen must be considered in the lead, 
with the Golden Rule and Jeffries's new punch trying 
for place and show. 

The Constitution says that one man is as good as 
another; but the Fire Department says he is better. 
This is a too generous theory, but the law will not 
allow itself to be construed otherwise. All of which 
comes perilously near to being a paradox, and com- 
mends itself to the attention of the S. P. C. A. . 

One of the transatlantic liners dumped out at Ellis 

[140] 



THE FOREIGN POLICY OF COMPANY 99 

Island a lump of protozoa which was expected to 
evolve into an American citizen. A steward kicked 
him down the gangway, a doctor pounced upon his 
eyes like a raven, seeking for trachoma or ophthalmia ; 
he was hustled ashore and ejected into the city in the 
name of Liberty — perhaps, theoretically, thus inocu- 
lating against kingocracy with a drop of its own virus. 
This hypodermic injection of Europeanism wandered 
happily into the veins of the city with the broad grin 
of a pleased child. It was not burdened with bag- 
gage, cares or ambitions. Its body was lithely built 
and clothed in a sort of foreign fustian ; its face was 
brightly vacant, with a small, flat nose, and was mostly 
covered by a thick, ragged, curling beard like the 
coat of a spaniel. In the pocket of the imported 
Thing were a few coins — denarii — scudi — ko- 
pecks — pfennigs — pilasters — whatever the finan- 
cial nomenclature of his unknown country may have 
been. 

Prattling to himself, always broadly grinning, 
pleased by the roar and movement of the barbarous 
city into which the steamship cut-rates had shunted 
him, the alien strayed away from the sea, which he 
hated, as far as the district covered by Engine Com- 
pany No. 99. Light as a cork, he was kept bobbing 
along by the human tide, the crudest atom in all the 
silt of the stream that emptied into the reservoir of 
Liberty. 

[141] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

While crossing Third avenue he slowed his steps, en- 
chanted by the thunder of the elevated trains above 
him and the soothing crash of the wheels on the cob- 
bles. And then there was a new, delightful chord in 
the uproar — the musical clanging of a gong and a 
great shining juggernaut belching fire and smoke, that 
people were hurrying to see. 

This beautiful thing, entrancing to the eye, dashed 
past, and the protoplasmic immigrant stepped into the 
wake of it with his broad, enraptured, uncomprehend- 
ing grin. And so stepping, stepped into the path of 
No. 99's flying hose-cart, with John Byrnes gripping, 
with arms of steel, the reins over the plunging backs 
of Erebus and Joe. 

The unwritten constitutional code of the firemen has 
no exceptions or amendments. It is a simple thing 
— as simple as the rule of three. There was the heed- 
less unit in the right of way ; there was the hose-cart 
and the iron pillar of the elevated railroad. 

John Byrnes swung all his weight and muscle on 
the left rein. The team and cart swerved that way 
and crashed like a torpedo into the pillar. The men 
on the cart went flying like skittles. The driver's 
strap burst, the pillar rang with the shock, and John 
Byrnes fell on the car track with a broken shoulder 
twenty feet away, while Erebus — beautiful, raven- 
black, best-loved Erebus — lay whickering in his har- 
ness with a broken leg. 

[148] 



THE FOREIGN POLICY OF COMPANY 99 

In consideration for the feelings of Engine Com- 
pany No. 99 the details will be lightly touched. The 
company does not like to be reminded of that day. 
There was a great crowd, and hurry calls were sent 
in; and while the ambulance gong was clearing the 
way the men of No. 99 hard the crack of the S. P. 
C. A. agent's pistol, and turned their heads away, not 
daring to look toward Erebus again. 

When the firemen got back to the engine-house they 
found that one of them was dragging by the collar 
the cause of their desolation and grief. They set it 
in the middle of the floor and gathered grimly about 
it. Through its whiskers the calamitous object chat- 
tered effervescently and waved its hands. 

" Sounds like a seidlitz powder," said Mike Dowling, 
disgustedly, " and it makes me sicker than one. Call 
that a man ! — that hoss was worth a steamer full of 
such two-legged animals. It's a immigrant — that's 
what it is." 

" Look at the doctor's chalk mark on its coat," said 
Reilly, the desk man. " It's just landed. It must be 
a kind of a Dago or a Hun or one of them Finns, I 
guess. That's the kind of truck that Europe unloads 
onto us." 

" Think of a thing like that getting in the way 
and laying John up in hospital and spoiling the best 
fire team in the city," groaned another fireman. " It 
ought to be taken down to the dock and drowned." 

[148] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" Somebody go around and get Sloviski," suggested 
the engine driver, " and let's see what nation is re- 
sponsible for this conglomeration of hair and head 
noises." 

Sloviski kept a delicatessen store around the corner 
on Third avenue, and was reputed to be a linguist. 

One of the men fetched him — a fat, cringing man, 
with a discursive eye and the odors of many kinds of 
meats upon him. 

" Take a whirl at this importation with your jaw- 
breakers, Sloviski," requested Mike Dowling. " We 
can't quite figure out whether he's from the Hacken- 
sack bottoms or Hongkong-on-the-Ganges." 

Sloviski addressed the stranger in several dialects, 
that ranged in rhythm and cadence from the sounds 
produced by a tonsilitis gargle to the opening of a 
can of tomatoes with a pair of scissors. The immi- 
grant replied in accents resembling the uncorking of a 
bottle of ginger ale. 

" I have you his name," reported Sloviski. " You 
shall not pronounce it. Writing of it in paper is 
better." They gave him paper, and he wrote. u De- 
metre Svangvsk." 

" Looks like short hand," said the desk man. 
- " He speaks some language," continued the inter- 
preter, wiping his forehead, " of Austria and mixed 
with a little Turkish. And, den, he have some Mag- 
yar words and a Polish or two, and many like the 

[144] 



THE FOREIGN POLICY OF COMPANY 99 

Roumanian, but not without talk of one tribe in Bess- 
arabia. I do not him quite understand." 

" Would you call him a Dago or a Polocker, or 
what?" asked Mike, frowning at the polyglot de- 
scription. 

" He is a "— - answered Sloviski — " he is a — I dink 
he come from — I dink he is a fool," he concluded, im- 
patient at his linguistic failure, " and if you pleases 
I will go back at mine delicatessen." 

" Whatever he is, he's a bird," said Mike Dowling ; 
" and you want to watch him fly." 

Taking by the wing the alien fowl* that had flut- 
tered into the nest of Liberty, Mike led him to the 
door of the engine-house and bestowed upon him a 
kick hearty enough to convey the entire animus of 
Company 99. Demetre Svangvsk hustled away down 
the sidewalk, turning once to show his ineradicable grin 
to the aggrieved firemen. 

In three weeks John Byrnes was back at his post 
from the hospital. With great gusto he proceeded to 
bring his war map up to date. " My money on the 
Japs every time," he declared. " Why, look at them 
Russians — they're nothing but wolves. Wipe 'em 
out, I say — and the little old jiu jitsu gang are just 
the cherry blossoms to do the trick, and don't you for- 
get it!" 

The second day after Byrne's reappearance came 
Demetre Svangvsk, the unidentified, to the engine- 

[145] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

house, with a broader grin than ever. He managed 
to convey the idea that he wished to congratulate the 
hose-cart driver on his recovery and to apologize for 
having caused the accident. This he accomplished by 
so many extravagant gestures and explosive noises 
that the company was diverted for half an hour. 
Then they kicked him out again, and on the next day 
he came back grinning. How or where he lived no 
one knew. And then John Byrnes's nine-year-old son, 
Chris, who brought him convalescent delicacies from 
home to eat, took a fancy to Svangvsk, and they al- 
lowed him to loaf about the door of the engine-house 
occasionally. 

One afternoon the big drab automobile of the Dep- 
uty Fire Commissioner buzzed up to the door of No. 
99 and the Deputy stepped inside for an informal in- 
spection. The men kicked Svangvsk out a little 
harder than usual and proudly escorted the Deputy 
around 99, in which everything shone like my lady's 
mirror. 

The Deputy respected the sorrow of the company 
concerning the loss of Erebus, and he had come to 
promise it another mate for Joe that would do him 
credit. So they let Joe out of his stall and showed 
the Deputy how deserving he was of the finest mate 
that could be in horsedom. 

While they were circling around Joe confabbing, 
Chris climbed into the Deputy's auto and threw the 

[146] 



THE FOREIGN POLICY OF COMPANY 99 

power full on. The men heard a monster puffing 
and a shriek from the lad, and sprang out too late. 
The big auto shot away, luckily taking a straight 
course down the street. The boy knew nothing of its 
machinery ; he sat clutching the cushions and howling. 
With the power on nothing could have stopped that 
auto except a brick house, and there was nothing for 
Chris to gain by such a stoppage. 

Demetre Svankvsk was just coming in again with a 
grin for another kick when Chris played his merry 
little prank. While the others sprang for the door 
Demetre sprang for Joe. He glided upon the horse's 
bare back like a snake and shouted something at him 
like the crack of a dozen whips. One of the firemen 
afterward swore that Joe answered him back in the 
same language. Ten seconds after the auto started 
the big horse was eating up the asphalt behind it like 
a strip of macaroni. 

Some people two blocks and a half away saw the 
rescue. They said that the auto was nothing but a 
drab noise with a black speck in the middle of it for 
Chris, when a big bay horse with a lizard lying on 
its back cantered up alongside of it, and the lizard 
reached over and picked the black speck out of the 
noise. 

Only fifteen minutes after Svangvsk's last kicking 
at the hands — or rather the feet — of Engine Com- 
pany No. 99 he rode Joe back through the door with 

[147] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

the boy safe, but acutely conscious of the licking he 
was going to receive. 

Svangvsk slipped to the floor, leaned his head 
against Joe's and made a noise like a clucking hen. 
Joe nodded and whistled loudly through his nostrils, 
putting to shame the knowledge of Sloviski, of the 
delicatessen. 

John Byrnes walked up to Svangvsk, who grinned, 
expecting to be kicked. Byrnes gripped the out- 
lander so strongly by the hand that Demetre grinned 
anyhow, conceiving it to be a new form of punishment. 

" The heathen rides like a Cossack," remarked a fire- 
man who had seen a Wild West show — " they're the 
greatest riders in the world." 

The word seemed to electrify Svankvsk. He 
grinned wider than ever. 

" Yas — yas — me Cossack," he spluttered, strik- 
ing his chest. 

" Cossack ! " repeated John Byrnes, thoughtfully, 
" ain't that a kind of a Russian? " 

" They're one of the Russian tribes, sure," said the 
desk man, who read books between fire alarms. 

Just then Alderman Foley, who was on his way 
home and did not know of the runaway, stopped at 
the door of the engine-house and called to Byrnes : 

" Hello there, Jimmy, me boy — how's the war com- 
ing along? Japs still got the bear on the trot, have 
they?" 

[148] 



THE FOREIGN POLICY OF COMPANY 99 

" Oh, I don't know," said John Byrnes, argumenta- 
tively, " them Japs haven't got any walkover. You 
wait till Kuropatkin gets a good whack at 'em and 
they won't be knee-high to a puddle-ducksky." 



[149] 



THE LOST BLEND 

SlNCE the bar has been blessed by the clergy, and 
cocktails open the dinners of the elect, one may speak 
of the saloon. Teetotalers need not listen, if they 
choose; there is always the slot restaurant, where a 
dime dropped into the cold bouillon aperture will bring 
forth a dry Martini. 

Con Lantry worked on the sober side of the bar in 
Kenealy's cafe. You and I stood, one-legged like 
geese, on the other side and went into voluntary 
liquidation with our week's wages. Opposite danced 
Con, clean, temperate, clear-headed, polite, white- 
jacketed, punctual, trustworthy, young, responsible, 
and took our money. 

The saloon (whether blessed or cursed) stood in one 
of those little " places " which are parallelograms in- 
stead of streets, and inhabited by laundries, decayed 
Knickerbocker families and Bohemians who have noth- 
ing to do with either. 

Over the cafe lived Kenealy and his family. His 
daughter Katherine had eyes of dark Irish — but why 
should you be told? Be content with your Geraldine 
or your Eliza Ann. For Con dreamed of her; and 
when she called softly- at the foot of the back stairs 

[150] 



THE LOST BLEND 

for the pitcher of beer for dinner, his heart went up 
and down like a milk punch in the shaker. Orderly 
and fit are the rules of Romance ; and if you hurl the 
last shilling of your fortune upon the bar for whiskey, 
the bartender .shall take it, and marry his boss's daugh- 
ter, and good will grow out of it. 

But not so Con. For in the presence of woman he 
was tongue-tied and scarlet. He who would quell 
with his eye the sonorous youth whom the claret punch 
made loquacious, or smash with lemon squeezer the 
obstreperous, or hurl gutterward the cantakerous with- 
out a wrinkle coming to his white lawn tie, when he 
stood before woman he was voiceless, incoherent, stut- 
tering, buried beneath a hot avalanche of bashfulness 
and misery. What then was he before Katherine? A 
trembler, with no word to say for himself, a stone with- 
out blarney, the dumbest lover that ever babbled of 
the weather in the presence of his divinity. 

There came to Kenealy's two sunburned men, Riley 
and McQuirk. They had conference with Kenealy; 
and then they took possession of a back room which 
they filled with bottles and siphons and jugs and 
druggist's measuring glasses. All the appurtenances 
and liquids of a saloon were there, but they dispensed 
no drinks. All day long the two sweltered in there, 
pouring and mixing unknown brews and decoctions 
from the liquors in their store. Riley had the educa- 
tion, and he figured on reams of paper, reducing gal- 

[151] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

Ions to ounces and quarts to fluid drams. McQuirk, 
a morose man with a red eye, dashed each unsuccessful 
completed mixture into the waste pipes with curses 
gentle, husky and deep. They labored heavily and 
untiringly to achieve some mysterious solution like two 
alchemists striving to resolve gold from the elements. 

Into this back room one evening when his watch was 
done sauntered Con. His professional curiosity had 
been stirred by these occult bartenders at whose bar 
none drank, and who daily drew upon Kenealy's store 
of liquors to follow their consuming and fruitless ex- 
periments. 

Down the back stairs came Katherine with her smile 
like sunrise on Gweebarra Bay. 

" Good evening, Mr. Lantry," says she. " And 
what is the news to-day, if you please? " 

" It looks like r-rain," stammered the shy one, back- 
ing to the wall. 

"It couldn't do better," said Katherine. "I'm 
thinking there's nothing the worse off for a little 
water." In the back room Riley and McQuirk toiled 
like bearded witches over their strange compounds. 
From fifty bottles they drew liquids carefully meas- 
ured after Riley's figures, and shook the whole to- 
gether in a great glass vessel. Then McQuirk would 
dash it out, with gloomy profanity, and they would 
begin again. 

" Sit down," said Riley to Con, " and I'll tell you. 

[152] 



THE LOST BLEND 

"Last summer me and Tim concludes that an 
American bar in this nation of Nicaragua would pay. 
There was a town on the coast where there's nothing 
to eat but quinine and nothing to drink but rum. 
The natives and foreigners lay down with chills and 
get up with fevers ; and a good mixed drink is nature's 
remedy for all such tropical inconveniences. 

" So we lays in a fine stock of wet goods in New 
York, and bar fixtures and glassware, and we sails for 
that Santa Falma town on a lime steamer. On the 
way me and Tim sees flying fish and plays seven-up 
with the captain and steward, and already begins to 
feel like the high-ball kings of the tropic of Capri- 
corn. 

" When we gets in five hours of the country that 
we was going to introduce to long drinks and short 
change the captain calls us over to the starboard bin- 
nacle and recollects a few things. 

" * I forgot to tell you, boys,' says he, ' that Nica- 
ragua slapped an import duty of 48 per cent, ad 
valorem on all bottled goods last month. The Pres- 
ident took a bottle of Cincinnati hair tonic by mistake 
for tabasco sauce, and he's getting even. Barrelled 
goods is free.' 

" Sorry you didn't mention it sooner," says we. 
And we bought two forty-two gallon casks from the 
captain, and opened every bottle we had and dumped 
the stuff all together in the casks. That 48 per cent. 

[153] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

would have ruined us ; so we took the chances on mak- 
ing that $1,200 cocktail rather than throw the stuff 
away. 

" Well, when we landed we tapped one of the bar- 
rels. The mixture was something heartrending. It 
was the color of i plate of Bowery pea soup, and it 
tasted like one of those coffee substitutes your aunt 
makes you take for the heart trouble you get by pick- 
ing losers. We gave a nigger four fingers of it to 
try it, and he lay under a cocoanut tree three days 
beating the sand with his heels and refused to sign a 
testimonial. 

" But the other barrel ! Say, bartender, did you 
ever put on a straw hat with a yellow band around 
it and go up in a balloon with a pretty girl with 
$8,000,000 in your pocket all at the same time? 
That's what thirty drops of it would make you feel 
like. With two fingers of it inside you you would 
bury your face in your hands and cry because there 
wasn't anything more worth while around for you to 
lick than little Jim Jeffries. Yes, sir, the stuff in that 
second barrel was distilled elixir of battle, money and 
high life. It was the color of gold and as clear as 
glass, and it shone after dark like the sunshie was still 
in it. A thousand years from now you'll get a drink 
like that across the bar. 

" Well, we started up business with that one line of 
drinks, and it was enough. The piebald gentry of 

[154] 



THE LOST BLEND 

that country struck to it like a hive of bees. If that 
barrel had lasted that country would have become the 
greatest on earth. When we opened up of mornings 
we had a line of Generals and Colonels and ex-Pres- 
idents and revolutionists a block long waiting to be 
served. We started in at 50 cents silver a drink. 
The last ten gallons went easy at $5 a gulp. It was 
wonderful stuff. It gave a man courage and ambition 
and nerve to do anything ; at the same time he didn't 
care whether his money was tainted or fresh from the 
Ice Trust. When that barrel was half gone Nica- 
ragua had repudiated the National debt, removed the 
duty on cigarettes and was about to declare war on 
the United States and England. 

" * Twas by accident we discovered this king of 
drinks, and 'twill be by good luck if we strike it 
again. For ten months we've been trying. Small 
lots at a time, we've mixed barrels of all the harmful 
ingredients known to the profession of drinking. Ye 
could have stocked ten bars with the whiskeys, brandies, 
cordials, bitters, gins and wines me and Tim have 
wasted. A glorious drink like that to be denied to the 
world ! ' Tis a sorrow and a loss of money. The 
United States as a nation would welcome a drink of the 
sort, and pay for it." 

All the while McQuirk had been carefully measuring 
and pouring together small quantities of various spir- 
its, as Riley called them, from his latest pencilled 

[155] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

prescription. The completed mixture was of a vile, 
mottled chocolate color. McQuirk tasted it, and 
hurled it, with appropriate epithets, into the waste sink. 

" ' Tis a strange story, even if true," said Con. 
" Til be going now along to my supper." 

" Take a drink," said Riley. " We've all kinds ex- 
cept the lost blend." 

" I never drink," said Con, " anything stronger 
than water. I am just after meeting Miss Katherine 
by the stairs. She said a true word. 4 There's not 
anything,' says she, 'but is better off for a little 
water.' " 

When Con had left them Riley almost felled Mc- 
Quirk by a blow on the back. 

" Did ye hear that? " he shouted. " Two fools are 
we. The six dozen bottles of 'pollinaris we had on 
the ship — ye opened them yourself — which barrel 
did ye pour them in — which barrel, ye mudhead ? " 

" I mind," said McQuirk, slowly, " 'twas in the 
second barrel we opened. I mind the blue piece of 
paper pasted on the side of it." 

" We've got it now," cried Riley. " ' Twas that 
we lacked. 9 Tis the water that does the trick. 
Everything else we had right. Hurry, man, and get 
two bottles of 'pollinaris from the bar, while I figure 
out the proportionments with me pencil." 

An hour later Con strolled down the sidewalk to- 
ward Kenealy's cafe. Thus faithful employees haunt, 

[156] 



THE LOST BLEND 

during their recreation hours, the vicinity where they 
labor, drawn by some mysterious attraction. 

A police patrol wagon stood at the side door. 
Three able cops were half carrying, half hustling 
Riley and McQuirk up its rear steps. The eyes and 
faces of each bore the bruises and cuts of sanguinary 
and assiduous conflict. Yet they whooped with 
strange joy, and directed upon the police the feeble 
remnants of their pugnacious madness. 

" Began fighting each other in the back room," ex-' 
plained Kenealy to Con. " And singing ! That was 
worse. Smashed everything pretty much up. But 
they're good men. They'll pay for everything. 
Trying to invent some new kind of cocktail, they was. 
Pll see they come out all right in the morning." 

Con sauntered into the back room to view the battle- 
field. As he went through the hall Katherine was just 
coming down the stairs. 

" Good evening again, Mr. Lantry," said she. 
" And is there no news from the weather yet? " 

" Still threatens r-rain," said Con slipping past with 
red in his smooth, pale cheek. 

Riley and McQuirk had indeed waged a great and 
friendly battle. Broken bottles and glasses were 
everywhere. The room was full of alcohol fumes ; the 
floor was variegated with spirituous puddles. 

On the table stood a 32-ounce glass graduated 
measure. In the bottom of it were two tablespoonf uls 

[157] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

of liquid — a bright golden liquid that seemed to hold 
the sunshine a prisoner in its auriferous depths. 

Con smelled it. He tasted it. He drank it. 

As he returned through the hall Katherine was just 
going up the stairs. 

" No news yet, Mr. Lantry ? " she asked with her 
teasing laugh. 

Con lifted her clear from the floor and held her 
there. 

" The news is," he said, " that we're to be married." 

" Put me down, sir ! " she cried indignantly, " or I 
will — Oh, Con, where, oh, wherever did you get the 
nerve to say it? " 



[168] 



t 



a harlem tragedy 
Harlem. 

Mrs. Fink has dropped into Mrs. Cassidy's flat one 
flight below. 

" Ain't it a beaut? " said Mrs. Cassidy. 

She turned her face proudly for her friend Mrs. 
Fink to see. One eye was nearly closed, with a great, 
greenish-purple bruise around it. Her lip was cut 
and bleeding a little and there were red finger-marks 
on each side of her neck. 

" My husband wouldn't ever think of doing that to 
me," said Mrs. Fink, concealing her envy. 

" I wouldn't have a man," declared Mrs. Cassidy, 
" that didn't beat me up at least once a week. Shows 
he thinks something of you. Say ! but that last dose 
Jack gave me wasn't no homeopathic one. I can see 
stars yet. But he'll be the sweetest man in town for 
the rest of the week to make up for it. This eye is 
good for theater tickets and a silk shirt waist at the 
very least." 

" I should hope," said Mrs. Fink, assuming com- 
placency, " that Mr. Fink is too much of a gentleman 
ever to raise his hand against me." 

" Oh, go on, Maggie ! " said Mrs. Cassidy, laughing 

[159] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

and applying witch hazel, " you're only jealous. 
Your old man is too f rapped and slow to ever give 
you a punch. He just sits down and practises physi- 
cal culture with a newspaper when he comes home — 
now ain't that the truth? " 

" Mr. Fink certainly peruses of the papers when he 
comes home," acknowledged Mrs. Fink, with a toss of 
her head ; " but he certainly don't ever make no Steve 
O'Donnell out of me just to amuse himself — that's a 
sure thing." 

Mrs. Cassidy laughed the contented laugh of the 
guarded and happy matron. With the air of Cor- 
nelia exhibiting her jewels, she drew down the collar 
of her kimono and revealed another treasured brtiise, 
maroon-colored, edged with olive and orange -r- a 
bruise now nearly well, but still to memory dear. 

Mrs. Fink capitulated. The formal light in her eye 
softened to envious admiration. She and Mrs. Cas- 
sidy had been chums in the downtown paper-box fac- 
tory before they had married, one year before. Now 
she and her man occupied the flat above Mame and 
her man. Therefore she could not put on airs with 
Mame. 

"Don't it hurt when he soaks you?" asked Mrs. 
Fink, curiously. 

" Hurt ! " — Mrs. Cassidy gave a soprano scream of 
delight. " Well, say — did you ever have a brick 
house fall on you? — well, that's just the way it feels 

[160] 



A HARLEM TRAGEDY 

— just like when they're digging you out of the ruins. 
Jack's got a left that spells two matinees and a new 
pair of Oxfords — and his right ! — well, it takes a 
trip to Coney and six pairs of openwork, silk lisle 
threads to make that good." 

"But what does he beat you for?" inquired Mrs. 
Fink, with wide-open eyes. 

" Silly ! " said Mrs. Cassidy, indulgently. " Why, 
because he's full. It's generally on Saturday nights." 

" But what cause do you give him ? " persisted the 
seeker after knowledge. 

" Why, didn't I marry him? Jack comes in tanked 
up; and I'm here, ain't I? Who else has he got a 
right to beat? I'd just like to catch him once beating 
anybody else! Sometimes it's because supper ain't 
ready; and sometimes it's because it is. Jack ain't 
particular about causes. He just lushes till he re- 
members he's married, and then he makes for home 
and does me up. Saturday nights I just move the 
furniture with sharp corners out of the way, so I won't 
cut my head when he gets his work in. He's got a 
left swing that jars you ! Sometimes I take the count 
in the first round ; but when I feel like having a good 
time during the week or want some new rags I come 
up again for more punishment. That's what I done 
last night. Jack knows I've been wanting a black 
silk waist for a month, and I didn't think just one 

[161] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

black eye would bring it. Tell you what, Mag, FH 
bet you the ice cream he brings it to-night." 

Mrs. Fink was thinking deeply. 

" My Mart," she said, " never hit me a lick in his 
life. It's just like you said, Mame; he comes in 
grouchy and ain't got a word to say. He never takes 
me out anywhere. He's a chair-warmer at home for 
fair. He buys me things, but he looks so glum about 
it that I never appreciate 'em." 

Mrs. Cassidy slipped an arm around her chum. 

"You poor thing!" she said. "But everybody 
can't have a husband like Jack. Marriage wouldn't 
be no failure if they was all like him. These discon- 
tented wives you hear about — what they need is a 
man to come home and kick their slats in once a week, 
and then make it up in kisses, and chocolate creams. 
That'd give 'em some interest in life. What I want 
is a masterful man that slugs you when he's jagged 
and hugs you when he ain't jagged. Preserve me 
from the man that ain't got the sand to do neither ! " 

Mrs. Fink sighed. 

The hallways were suddenly filled with sound. The 
door flew open at the kick of Mr. Cassidy. His arms 
were occupied with bundles. Mame flew and hung 
about his neck. Her sound eye sparkled with the love 
light that shines in the eye of the Maori maid when 
she recovers consciousness in the hut of the wooer who 
has stunned and dragged her there. 

[162] 



A HARLEM TRAGEDY 

" Hello, old girl ! " shouted Mr. Cassidy. He shed 
his bundles and lifted her off her feet in a mighty hug. 
" I got tickets for Barnum & Bailey's, and if you'll 
bust the string of one of them bundles I guess you'll 
find that silk waist — why, good evening, Mrs. Fink 
— I didn't see you at first. How's old Mart coming 
along? " 

" He's very well, Mr. Cassidy — thanks," said Mrs. 
Fink. " I must be going along up now. Mart'U be 
home for supper soon. I'll bring you down that pat- 
tern you wanted to-morrow, Mame." 

Mrs. Fink went up to her flat and had a little cry. 
It was a meaningless cry, the kind of cry that only 
a woman knows about, a cry from no particular 
cause, altogether an absurd cry ; the most transient and 
the most hopeless cry in the repertory of grief. Why 
had Martin never thrashed her? He was as big and 
strong as Jack Cassidy. Did he not care for her at 
all? He never quarrelled; he came home and lounged 
about, silent, glum, idle. He was a fairly good pro- 
vider, but he ignored the spices of life. 

Mrs. Fink's ship of dreams was becalmed. Her 
captain ranged between plum duff and his hammock. 
If only he would shiver his timbers or stamp his foot 
on the quarter-deck now and then! And she had 
thought to sail so merrily, touching at ports in the 
Delectable Isles ! But now, to vary the figure, she was 
ready to throw up the sponge, tired out, without a 

[163] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

scratch to show for all those tame rounds with her 
sparring partner. For one moment she almost hated 
Mame — Mame, with her cuts and bruises, her salve 
of presents and kisses, her stormy voyage with her 
fighting, brutal, loving mate. 

Mr. Fink came home at 7. He was permeated with 
the curse of domesticity. Beyond the portals of his 
cozy home he cared not to roam, to roam. He was 
the man who had caught the street car, the anaconda 
that had swallowed its prey, the tree that lay as it had 
fallen. 

"Like the supper, Mart?" asked Mrs. Fink, who 
had striven over it. 

" M-m-m-yep," grunted Mr. Fink. 

After supper he gathered his newspapers to read. 
He sat in his stockinged feet. 

Arise, some new Dante, and sing me the befitting 
corner of perdition for the man who sitteth in the 
house in his stockinged feet! Sisters of Patience 
who by reason of ties or duty have endured it in silk, 
yarn, cotton, lisle thread or woollen — does not the 
new canto belong? 

The next day was Labor Day. The occupations of 
Mr. Cassidy and Mr. Fink ceased for one passage of 
the sun. Labor, triumphant, would parade and other- 
wise disport itself. 

Mrs. Fink took Mrs. Cassidy's pattern down early. 
Mame had on her new silk waist. Even her damaged 

[164] 



A HARLEM TRAGEDY 

eye managed to emit a holiday gleam. Jack was 
fruitfully penitent, and there was a hilarious scheme 
for the day afoot, with parks and picnics and Pilsener 
in it. 

A rising, indignant jealousy seized Mrs. Fink as 
she returned to her flat above. Oh, happy Mame, with 
her bruises and her quick-following balm! But was 
Mame to have a monopoly of happiness? Surely 
Martin Fink was as good a man as Jack Cassidy. 
Was his wife to go always unbelabored and unca- 
ressed? A sudden, brilliant, breathless idea came to 
Mrs. Fink. She would show Mame that there were 
husbands as able to use their fists and perhaps to be 
as tender afterward as any Jack. 

The holiday promised to be a nominal one with 
the Finks. Mrs. Fink had the stationary washtubs 
in the kitchen filled with a two weeks' wash that had 
been soaking overnight. Mr. Fink sat in his stock- 
inged feet reading a newspaper. Thus Labor Day 
presaged to speed. 

Jealousy surged high in Mrs. Fink's heart, and 
higher still surged an audacious resolve. If her man 
would not strike her — if he would not so far prove 
his manhood, his prerogative and his interest in con- 
jugal affairs, he must be prompted to his duty. 

Mr. Fink lit his pipe and peacefully rubbed an ankle 
with a stockinged toe. He reposed in the state of 
matrimony like a lump of unblended suet in a pud- 

[165] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

ding. This was his level Elysium — to sit at ease 
vicariously girdling the world in print amid the wifely 
splashing of suds and the agreeable smells of break- 
fast dishes departed and dinner ones to come. Many 
ideas were far from his mind; but the furthest one 
was the thought of beating his wife. 

Mrs. Fink turned on the hot water and set the 
washboards in the suds. Up from the flat below came 
the gay laugh of Mrs. Cassidy. It sounded like a 
taunt, a flaunting of her own happiness in the face of 
the unslugged bride above. Now was Mrs. Fink's 
time. 

Suddenly she turned like a fury upon the man read- 
ing. 

" You lazy loafer ! " she cried, " must I work my 
arms off washing and toiling for the ugly likes of 
you? Are you a man or are you a kitchen hound? " 

Mr. Fink dropped his paper, motionless from sur- 
prise. She feared that he would not strike — that the 
provocation had been insufficient. She leaped at him 
and struck him fiercely in the face with her clinched 
hand. In that instant she felt a thrill of love for him 
such as she had not felt for many a day. Rise up, 
Martin Fink, and come into your kingdom ! Oh, she 
must feel the weight of his hand now — just to show 
that he cared — just to show that he cared ! 

Mr. Fink sprang to his feet — Maggie caught him 
again on the jaw with a wide swing of her other 

[166] 



A HARLEM TRAGEDY 

hand. She closed her eyes in that fearful, blissful 
moment before his blow should come — she whispered 
his name to herself — she leaned to the expected 
shock, hungry for it. 

In the flat below Mr. Cassidy, with a shamed and 
contrite face was powdering Maine's eye in prepara- 
tion for their junket. From the flat above came the 
sound of a woman's voice, high-raised, a bumping, 
a stumbling and a shuffling, a chair overturned — un- 
mistakable sounds of domestic conflict. 

" Mart and Mag scrapping? " postulated Mr. Cas- 
sidy. " Didn't know they ever indulged. Shall I 
trot up and see if they need a sponge holder? " 

One of Mrs. Cassidy's eyes sparkled like a diamond. 
The other twinkled at least like paste. 

" Oh, oh," she said, softly and without apparent 
meaning, in the feminine ejaculatory manner. " I 
wonder if — I wonder if ! Wait, Jack, till I go up 
and see." 

Up the stairs she sped. As her foot struck the hall- 
way above out from the kitchen door of her flat wildly 
flounced Mrs. Fink. 

" Oh, Maggie," cried Mrs. Cassidy, in a delighted 
whisper; " did he? Oh, did he? " ' 

Mrs. Fink ran and laid her face upon her chum's 
shoulder and sobbed hopelessly. 

Mrs. Cassidy took Maggie's face between her hands 
and lifted it gently. Tear-stained it was, flushing 

[167] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

and paling, but its velvety, pink-and-white, becom- 
ingly freckled surface was unscratched, unbruised, un- 
manned by the recreant fist of Mr. Fink. 

" Tell me, Maggie," pleaded Mame, " or Til go in 
there and find out. What was it? Did he hurt you 
— what did he do? " 

Mrs. Fink's face went down again despairingly on 
the bosom of her friend. 

" For Gawd's sake don't open that door, Mame," 
she sobbed. " And don't ever tell nobody — keep it 
under your hat. He — he never touched me, and — 
he's — oh, Gawd — he's washin' the clothes — he's 
washin' the clothes ! " 



[168] 



* THE GUILTY PARTY " 

A RED-HAIRED, unshaven, untidy man sat in a 
rocking-chair by a window. He had just lighted a 
pipe, and was puffing blue clouds with great satisfac- 
tion. He had removed his shoes and donned a pair of 
blue, faded carpet-slippers. With the morbid thirst 
of the confirmed daily news drinker, he awkwardly 
folded back the pages of an evening paper, eagerly 
gulping down the strong, black headlines, to be fol- 
lowed as a chaser by the milder details of the smaller 
type. 

In an adjoining room a woman was cooking sup- 
per. Odors from strong bacon and boiling coffee 
contended against the cut-plug fumes from the ves- 
pertine pipe. 

Outside was one of those crowded streets of the east 
side, in which, as twilight falls, Satan sets up his re- 
cruiting office. A mighty host of children danced and 
ran and played in the street. Some in rags, some in 
clean white and beribboned, some wild and restless as 
young hawks, some gentle-faced and shrinking, some 
shrieking rude and sinful words, some listening, awed, 
but soon, grown familiar, to embrace — here were the 

[169] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

children playing in the corridors of the House of Sin. 
Above the playground forever hovered a great bird. 
The bird was known to humorists as the stork. But 
the people of Chrystie street were better ornithologists. 
They called it a vulture. 

A little girl of twelve came up timidly to the man 
reading and resting by the window, and said : 

" Papa, won't you play a game of checkers with me 
if you aren't too tired? " 

The red-haired, unshaven, untidy man sitting shoe- 
less by the window answered, with a frown: 

" Checkers ! No, I won't. Can't a man who works 
hard all day have a little rest when He comes home? 
Why don't you go out and play with the other kids 
on the sidewalk? " 

The woman who was cooking came to the door. 

" John," she said, " I don't like for Lizzie to play 
in the street. They learn too much there that ain't 
good for 'em. She's been in the house all day long. 
It seems that you might give up a little of your time 
to amuse her when you come home." 

" Let her go out and play like the rest of 'em if 
she wants to be amused," said the red-haired, un- 
shaven, untidy man, " and don't bother me." 

• » » 

" You're on," said Kid Mullaly. " Fifty dollars to 
$£5 I take Annie to the dance. Put up." 

The Kid's black eyes were snapping with the fire 

[170] 



THE GUILTY PARTY 

of the baited and challenged. He drew out his 
" roll " and slapped five tens upon the bar. The 
three or four young fellows who were thus "taken" 
more slowly produced their stake. The bartender, ex- 
officio stakeholder, took the money, laboriously 
wrapped it, recorded the bet with an inch-long pencil 
and stuffed the whole into a corner of the cash reg- 
ister. 

" And, oh, what'll be done to you'll be a plenty ," 
said a bettor, with anticipatory glee. 

"That's my lookout," said the "Kid," sternly. 
" Fill 'em up all around, Mike." 

After the round Burke, the " Kid's " sponge, 
sponge-holder, pal, Mentor and Grand Vizier, drew 
him out to the bootblack stand at the saloon corner, 
where all the official and important matters of the 
Small Hours Social Club were settled. As Tony pol- 
ished the light tan shoes of the club's President and 
Secretary for the fifth time that day, Burke spake 
words of wisdom to his chief. 

" Cut that blond out, ' Kid,' " was his advice, " or 
there'll be trouble. What do you want to throw down 
that girl of yours for? You'll never find one that'll 
freeze to you like Liz has. She's worth a hallful of 
Annies." 

"I'm no Annie admirer!" said the "Kid," drop- 
ping a cigarette ash on his polished toe, and wiping 
it off on Tony's shoulder. " But I want to teach Liz 

[171] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

a lesson. She thinks I belong to her. She's been 
bragging that I daren't speak to another girl. Liz 
is all right — in some ways. She's drinking a little 
too much lately. And she uses language that a lady 
oughtn't." 

" You're engaged, ain't you? " asked Burke. 

" Sure. We'll get married next year, maybe." 

" I saw you make her drink her first glass of beer," 
said Burke. " That was two years ago, when she 
used to come down to the corner of Chrystie bare- 
headed to meet you after supper. She was a quiet 
sort of a kid then, and couldn't speak without blush- 
ing." 

" She's a little spitfire, sometimes, now," said the 
Kid. " I hate jealousy. That's why I'm going to 
the dance with Annie. It'll teach her some sense." 

" Well, you better look a little out," were Burke's 
last words. " If Liz was my girl and I was to sneak 
out to a dance coupled up with an Annie, I'd want 
a suit of chain armor on under my gladsome rags, all 
right." 

Through the l^nd of the stork-vulture wandered 
Liz. Her black eyes searched the passing crowds 
fierily but vaguely. Now and then she hummed bars 
of foolish little songs. Between times she set her 
small, white teeth together, and spake crisp words that 
the east side has added to language. 

Liz's skirt was green silk. Her waist was a large 

[172] 



THE GUILTY PARTY 

brown-and-pink plaid, well-fitting and not without 
style. She wore a cluster ring of huge imitation ru- 
bies, and a locket that banged her knees at the bottom 
of a silver chain. Her shoes were run down over 
twisted high heels, and were strangers to polish. Her 
hat would scarcely have passed into a flour barrel. 

The " Family Entrance " of the Blue Jay Cafe re- 
ceived her. At a table she sat, and punched the but- 
ton with the air of milady ringing for her carriage. 
The water came with his large chinned, low-voiced 
manner of respectful familiarity. Liz smoothed her 
silken skirt with a satisfied wriggle. She made the 
most of it. Here she could order and be waited upon. 
It was all that her world offered her of the preroga- 
tive of woman. 

" Whiskey, Tommy," she said as her sisters further 
uptown murmur, " Champagne, James." 

" Sure, Miss Lizzie. What'U the chaser be? " 

" Seltzer. And say, Tommy, has the Kid been 
around to-day? " 

" Why, no, Miss Lizzie, I haven't saw him to-day." 

Fluently came the " Miss Lizzie," for the Kid was 
known to be one who required rigid upholdment of the 
dignity of his fiancee. 

" I'm lookin' for 'm," said Liz, after the chaser had 
sputtered under her nose. " It's got to me that he 
says he'll take Annie Karlson to the dance. Let him. 
The pink-eyed white rat! I'm lookin' for 'm. You 

[173] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

know me, Tommy. Two years me and the Kid've 
been engaged. Look at that ring. Five hundred, he 
said it cost. Let him take her to the dance. What'll 
I do? Pll cut his heart out. Another whiskey, 
Tommy.'' 

" I wouldn't listen to no such reports, Miss Lizzie," 
said the waiter smoothly, from the narrow opening 
above his chin. " Kid Mullaly's not the guy to throw 
a lady like you down. Seltzer on the side? " 

" Two years," repeated Liz, softening a little to 
sentiment under the magic of the distiller's art. " I 
always used to play out on the street of evenin's 'cause 
there was nothin' doin' for me at home. For a long 
time I just sat on doorsteps and looked at the lights 
and the people goin' by. And then the Kid came 
along one evenin' and sized me up, and I was mashed 
on the spot for fair. The first drink he made me 
take I cried all night at home, and got a lickin' for 
makin' a noise. And now — say, Tommy, you ever 
see this Annie Karlson? If it wasn't for peroxide the 
chloroform limit would have put her out long ago. 
Oh, I'm lookin' for 'm. You tell the Kid if he comes 
in. Me? I'll cut his heart out. Leave it to me. 
Another whiskey, Tommy." 

A little unsteadily, but with watchful and brilliant 
eyes, Liz walked up the avenue. On the doorstep of 
a brick tenement a curly-haired child sat, puzzling 
over the convolutions of a tangled string. Liz 

[174] 



THE GUILTY PARTY 

flopped down beside her, with a crooked, shifting 
smile on her flushed face. But her eyes had grown 
clear and artless of a sudden. 

" Let me show you how to make a cats-cradle, kid," 
she said, tucking her green silk skirt under her rusty 
shoes. 

And while they sat there the lights were being 
turned on for the dance in the hall of the Small Hours 
Social Club. It was the bi-monthly dance, a dress af- 
fair in which the members took great pride and be- 
stirred themselves huskily to further and adorn. 

At 9 o'clock the President, Kid Mullaly, paced 
upon the floor with a lady on his arm. As the Lore- 
ley's was her hair golden. Her " yes " was softened 
to a " yah," but its quality of assent was patent to the 
most Milesian ears. She stepped upon her own train 
and blushed, and — she smiled into the eyes of Kid 
Mullaly. 

And then, as the two stood in the middle of the 
waxed floor, the thing happened to prevent which 
many lamps are burning nightly in many studies and 
libraries. 

Out from the circle of spectators in the hall 
leaped Fate in a green silk skirt, under the nom de 
guerre of "Liz." Her eyes were hard and blacker 
than jet. She did not scream or waver. Most un- 
womanly, she cried out one oath — the Kid's own 
favorite oath — and in his own deep voice ; and then 

[175] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

while the Small Hours Social Club went frantically to 
pieces, she made good her boast to Tommy, the waiter 
— made good as far as the length of her knife blade 
and the strength of her arm permitted. 

And next came the primal instinct of self-preser- 
vation — or was it self-annihilation, the instinct that 
society has grafted on the natural branch? 

Liz ran out and down the street swift and true as 
a woodcock flying through a grove of saplings at 
dusk. 

And then followed the big city's biggest shame, its 
most ancient and rotten surviving canker, its pollu- 
tion and disgrace, its blight and perversion, its for- 
ever infamy and guilt, fostered, unreproved and cher- 
ished, handed down from a long-ago century of the 
basest barbarity — the Hue and Cry. Nowhere but 
in the big cities does it survive, and here most of all, 
where the ultimate perfection of culture, citizenship 
and alleged superiority joins, bawling, in the chase. 

They pursued — a shrieking mob of fathers, moth- 
ers, lovers and maidens — howling, yelling, calling, 
whistling, crying for blood. Well may the wolf in 
the big city stand outside the door. Well may his 
heart, the gentler, falter at the siege. 

Knowing her way, and hungry for her surcease, 
she darted down the familiar ways until at last her 
feet struck the dull solidity of the rotting pier. And 
then it was but a few more panting steps — and good 

[176] 



THE GUILTY PARTY 

mother East River took Liz to her bosom, soothed her 
muddily but quickly, and settled in five minutes the 
problem that keeps lights burning o' nights in thou- 
sands of pastorates and colleges. 

****** 

It's mighty funny what kind of dreams one has 
sometimes. Poets call them visions, but a vision is 
only a dream in blank verse. I dreamed the rest of 
this story. 

I thought I was in the next world. I don't know 
how I got there; I suppose I had been riding on the 
Ninth avenue elevated or taking patent medicine or 
trying to pull Jim Jeffries's nose, or doing some such 
little injudicious stunt. But, anyhow, there I was, 
and there was a great crowd of us outside the court- 
room where the judgments were going on. And 
every now and then a very beautiful and imposing 
court-officer angel would come outside the door and 
call another case. 

While I was considering my own wordly sins and 
wondering whether there would be any use of my try- 
ing to prove an alibi by claiming that I lived in New 
Jersey, the bailiff angel came to the door and sang 
out: 

" Case No. 99,852,748." 

Up stepped a plain-clothes man — there were lots 
of 'em there, dressed exactly like preachers and hust- 
ling us spirits around just like cops do on earth — 

[177] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

and by the arm he dragged — whom, do you think? 
Why, Liz! 

The court officer took her inside and closed the 
door. I went up to Mr. Fly-Cop and inquired about 
the case. 

" A very sad one," says he, laying the points of 
his manicured fingers together. " An utterly incor- 
rigible girl. I am Special Terrestrial Officer the Rev- 
erend Jones. The case was assigned to me. The 
girl murdered her fiance and committed suicide. She 
had no defense. My report to the court relates the 
facts in detail, all of which are substantiated by, re- 
liable witnesses. The wages of sin is death. Praise 
the Lord." 

The court officer opened the door and stepped out. 

" Poor girl," said Special Terrestrial Officer the 
Reverend Jones, with a tear in his eye. " It was one 
of the saddest cases that I ever met with. Of course 
she was " 

" Discharged," said the court officer. " Come here, 
Jonesy. First thing you know you'll be switched to 
the pot-pie squad. How would you like to be on the 
missionary force in the South Sea Islands — hey? 
Now, you quit making these false arrests, or you'll be 
transferred — see? The guilty party you've got to 
look for in this case is a red-haired, unshaven, untidy 
man, sitting by the window reading, in his stocking 
feet, while his children play in the streets. Get a 
move on you." 

Now, wasn't that a silly dream? 

[178] 



ACCORDING TO THEIR LIGHTS 

SOMEWHERE in the depths of the big city, where 
the unquiet dregs are forever being shaken together, 
young Murray and the Captain had met and become 
friends. Both were at the lowest ebb possible to their 
fortunes; both had fallen from at least an interme- 
diate Heaven of respectability and importance, and 
both were typical products of the monstrous and pe- 
culiar social curriculum of their overweening and 
bumptious civic alma mater. 

The captain was no longer a captain. One of 
those sudden moral cataclysms that sometimes sweep 
the city had hurled him from a high and profit- 
able position in the Police Department, ripping off his 
badge and buttons and washing into the hands of his 
lawyers the solid pieces of real estate that his fru- 
gality had enabled him to accumulate. The passing 
of the flood left him low and dry. One month after 
his dishabilitation a saloon-keeper plucked him by the 
neck from his free-lunch counter as a tabby plucks a 
strange kitten from her nest, and cast him asphalt- 
ward. This seems low enough. But after that he 
acquired a pair of cloth top, button Congress gaiters 
and wrote complaining letters to the newspapers. And 

[179] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

then he fought the attendant at the Municipal. Lodg- 
ing House who tried to give him a bath. When Mur- 
ray first saw him he was holding the hand of an Ital- 
ian woman who sold apples and garlic on Essex street, 
and quoting the words of a song book ballad. 

Murray's fall had been more Luciferian, if less 
spectacular. All the pretty, tiny little kickshaws of 
Gotham had once been his. The megaphone man 
roars out at you to observe the house of his uncle on 
a grand and revered avenue. But there had been an 
awful row about something, and the prince had been 
escorted to the door by the butler, which, in said ave- 
nue, is equivalent to the impact of the avuncular shoe. 
A weak Prince Hal, without inheritance or sword, he 
drifted downward to meet his humorless FalstafF, and 
to pick the crusts of the streets with him. 

One evening they sat on a bench in a little down- 
town park. The great bulk of the Captain, which 
starvation seemed to increase — drawing irony in- 
stead of pity to his petitions for aid — was heaped 
against the arm of the bench in a shapeless mass. 
His red face, spotted by tufts of vermillion, week-old 
whiskers and topped by a sagging white straw hat, 
looked, in the gloom, like one of those structures that 
you may observe in a dark Third avenue window, 
challenging your imagination to say whether it be 
something recent in the way of ladies' hats or a straw- 
berry shortcake. A tight-drawn belt — last relic of 

[180] 



ACCORDING TO THEIR LIGHTS 

his official spruceness — made a deep furrow in his 
circumference. The Captain's shoes were buttonless. 
In a smothered bass he cursed his star of ill-luck. 

Murray, at his side, was shrunk into his dingy and 
ragged suit of blue serge. His hat was pulled low; 
hq sat quiet and a little indistinct, like some ghost 
that had been dispossessed. 

" I'm hungry," growled the Captain — " by the top 
sirloin of the Bull of Bashan, I'm starving to death. 
Right now I could eat a Bowery restaurant clear 
through to the stovepipe in the alley. Can't you 
think of nothing, Murray? You sit there with your 
shoulders scrunched up, giving an imitation of Regi- 
nald Vanderbilt driving his coach — what good are 
them airs doing you now? Think of some place we 
can get something to chew." 

" You forget, my dear Captain," said Murray, 
without moving, " that our last attempt at dining was 
at my suggestion." 

" You bet it was," groaned the Captain, " you bet 
your life it was. Have you got any more like that to 
make — hey?" 

" I admit we failed," sighed Murray. " I was sure 
Malone would be good for one more free lunch after 
the way he talked baseball with me the last time I 
spent a nickel in his establishment." 

"I had this hand," said the Captain, extending the 
unfortunate member — " I had this hand on the drum- 

[181] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

stick of a turkey and two sardine sandwiches when 
them waiters grabbed us." 

" I was within two inches of the olives," said Mur- 
ray. " Stuffed olives. I haven't tasted one in a 
year." 

"What'U we do?" grumbled the Captain. "We 
can't starve." 

" Can't we? " said Murray quietly. " I'm glad to 
hear that. I was afraid we could." 

" You wait here," said the Captain, rising heavily 
and puffily to his feet. " I'm going to try to make 
one more turn. You stay here till I come back, Mur- 
ray. I won't be over half an hour. If I turn the 
trick I'll come back flush." 

He made some elephantine attempts at smartening 
his appearance. He gave his fiery mustache a heaven- 
ward twist; he dragged into sight a pair of black- 
edged cuffs, deepened the crease in his middle by tight- 
ening his belt another hole, and set off, jaunty as a 
zoo rhinoceros, across the south end of the park. 

When he was out of sight Murray also left the 
park, hurrying swiftly eastward. He stopped at a 
building whose steps were flanked by two green lights. 

"A police captain named Maroney," he said to 
the desk sergeant, "was dismissed from the force 
after being tried under charges three years ago. I 
believe sentence was suspended. Is this man wanted 
now by the police? " 

[182] 



ACCORDING TO THEIR LIGHTS 

" Why are ye asking? " inquired the sergeant, with 
a frown. 

" I thought there might be a reward standing," ex- 
plained Murray, easily. " I know the man well. He 
seems to be keeping himself pretty shady at present. 
I could lay my hands on him at any time. If there 
should be a reward " 

" There's no reward," interrupted the sergeant, 
shortly. " The man's not wanted. And neither are 
ye. So, get out. Ye are frindly with um, and ye 
would be selling um. Out with ye quick, or Fll give 
ye a start." 

Murray gazed at the officer with serene and virtu- 
ous dignity. 

" I would be simply doing my duty as a citizen and 
gentleman," he said, severely, " if I should assist the 
law in laying hold of one of its offenders." 

Murray hurried back to the bench in the park. He 
folded his arms and shrank within his clothes to his 
ghost-like presentment. 

Ten minutes afterward the Captain arrived at the 
rendezvous, windy and thunderous as a dog-day in 
Kansas. His collar had been torn away; his straw 
hat had been twisted and battered ; his shirt with ox- 
blood stripes split to the waist. And from head to 
knee he was drenched with some vile and ignoble 
greasy fluid that loudly proclaimed to the nose its 
component leaven of garlic and kitchen stuff. 

[183] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" For Heaven's sake, Captain," sniffed Murray, " I 
doubt that I would have waited for you if I had sus- 
pected you were so desperate as to resort to swill bar- 
rels. I " 

44 Cheese it," said the Captain, harshly. " I'm not 
hogging it yet. It's all on the outside. I went 
around on Essex and proposed marriage to that Ca- 
trina that's got the fruit shop there. Now, that busi- 
ness could be built up. She's a peach as far as a 
Dago could be." 

44 1 thought I had that senoreena mashed sure last 
week. But look what she done to me ! I guess I got 
too fresh. Well, there's another scheme queered." 

44 You don't mean to say," said Murray, with in- 
finite contempt, 44 that you would have married that 
woman to help yourself out of your disgraceful trou- 
bles!" 

"Me?" said the Captain. "I'd marry the Em- 
press of China for one bowl of chop suey. I'd com- 
mit murder for a plate of beef stew. I'd steal a 
wafer from a waif. I'd be a Mormon for a bowl of 
chowder." 

44 1 think," said Murray, resting his head on his 
hands, " that I would play Judas for the price of 
one drink of whiskey. For thirty pieces of silver I 
would " 

44 Oh, come now ! " exclaimed the Captain in dis- 
may. " You wouldn't do that, Murray? I always 

[184] 



ACCORDING TO THEIR LIGHTS 

thought that Kike's squeal on his boss was about the 
lowest-down play that ever happened. A man that 
gives his friend away is worse than a pirate." 

Through the park stepped a large man scanning 
the benches where the electric light fell. 

"Is that you, Mac?" he said, halting before the 
derelicts. His diamond stickpin dazzled. His dia- 
mond-studded fob chain assisted. He was big and 
smooth and well fed. " Yes, I see it's you," he con- 
tinued. " They told me at Mike's that I might find 
you over here. Let me see you a few minutes, Mac." 

The Captain lifted himself with a grunt of alac- 
rity. If Charlie Finnegan had come down in the bot- 
tomless pit to seek him there must be something do- 
ing. Charlie guided him by an arm into a patch of 
shadow. 

" You know, Mac," he said, " they're trying In- 
spector Pickering on graft charges." 

" He was my inspector," said the Captain. 

" O'Shea wants the job," went on Finnegan. " He 
must have it. It's for the good of the organization. 
Pickering must go under. Your testimony will do 
it. He was your 4 man higher up ' when you were 
on the force. His share of the boodle passed through 
your hands. You must go on the stand and testify 
against him." 

" He was " — began the Captain. 

" Wait a minute," said Finnegan. A bundle of 

[185] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

yellowish stuff came out of his inside pocket. " Five 
hundred dollars in it for you. Two-fifty on the spot, 
and the rest " 

" He was my friend, I say," finished the Captain. 
" I'll see you and the gang, and the city, and the 
party in the flames of Hades before I'll take the stand 
against Dan Pickering. I'm down and out; but I'm 
no traitor to a man that's been my friend." The 
Captain's voice rose and boomed like a split trom- 
bone. " Get out of this park, Charlie Finnegan, 
where us thieves and tramps and boozers are your bet- 
ters ; and take your dirty money with you." 

Finnegan drifted out by another walk. The Cap- 
tain returned to his seat. 

" I couldn't avoid hearing," said Murray, drearily. 
" I think you are the biggest fool I ever saw." 

"What would you have done?" asked the Cap- 
tain. 

" Nailed Pickering to the cross," said Murray. 

" Sonny," said the Captain, huskily and without 
heat. " You and me are different. New York is di- 
vided into two parts — above Forty-second street, and 
below Fourteenth. You come from the other part. 
We both act according to our lights." 

An illumiated clock above the trees retailed the in- 
formation that it lacked the half hour of twelve. 
Both men rose from the bench and moved away to- 
gether as if seized by the same idea. They left the 

[186] 



ACCORDING TO THEIR LIGHTS 

park, struck through a narrow cross street, and came 
into Broadway, at this hour as dark, echoing and de- 
peopled as a byway in Pompeii. 

Northward they turned; and a policeman who 
glanced at their unkempt and slinking figures with- 
held the attention and suspicion that he would have 
granted them at any other hour and place. For on 
every street in that part of the city other unkempt 
and slinking figures were shuffling and hurrying to- 
ward a converging point — a point that is marked by 
no monument save that groove on the pavement worn 
by tens of thousands of waiting feet. 

At Ninth street a tall man wearing an opera hat 
alighted from a Broadway car and turned his face 
westward. But he saw Murray, pounced upon him 
and dragged him under a street light. The Captain 
lumbered slowly to the corner, like a wounded bear, 
and waited, growling. 

" Jerry ! " cried the hatted one. " How fortunate ! 
I was to begin a search for you to-morrow. The old 
gentleman has capitulated. You're to be restored 
to favor. Congratulate you. Come to the office in 
the morning and get all the money you want. I've 
liberal instructions in that respect." 

"And the little matrimonial arrangement?" said 
Murray, with his head turned sidewise. 

" Why — er — well, of course, your uncle under- 

[187] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

stands — expects that the engagement between you 
Miss Vanderhurst shall be" 

" Good-night ! " said Murray, moving away. 

" You madman ! " cried the other, catching his arm. 
" Would you give up two millions on account 
of " 

" Did you ever see her nose, old man? " asked Mur- 
ray, solemnly. 

" But, listen to reason, Jerry. Miss Vanderhurst 
is an heiress, and " 

" Did you ever see it? " 

" Yes, I admit that her nose isn't " 



" Good night ! " said Murray. " My friend is 
waiting for me. I am quoting him when I authorize 
you to report that there is ' nothing doing.' Good 
night." 

A wriggling line of waiting men extended from 
a door in Tenth street far up Broadway, on the outer 
edge of the pavement. The Captain and Murray fell 
in at the tail of the quivering millipede. 

" Twenty feet longer than it was last night," said 
Murray, looking up at his measuring angle of Grace 
Church. 

" Half an hour," growled the Captain, " before we 
get our punk." 

The city clocks began to strike 12; the Bread Line 
moved forward slowly, its leathern feet sliding on the 
stones with the sound of a hissing serpent, as they who 
had lived according to their lights closed up in the 
rear. 

[188] 



A MIDSUMMER KNIGHT'S DREAM 

" The knights are dead; 
Their swords are rust. 
Except a few who have to hust- 
Le all the time 
To raise the dust* 9 

JJEAR READER: It was summertime. The sun 
glared down upon the city with pitiless ferocity. It 
is difficult for the sun to be ferocious and exhibit 
compunction simultaneously. The heat was — oh, 
bother thermometers ! — who cares for standard meas- 
ures, anyhow? It was so hot that — 

The roof gardens put on so many extra waiters 
that you could hope to get your gin fizz now — as 
soon as all the other people got theirs. The hospi- 
tals were putting in extra cots for bystanders. For 
when little woolly dogs loll their tongues out and say 
" woof, woof ! " at the fleas that bite 'em, and nerv- 
ous old black bombazine ladies screech " Mad dog ! " 
and policemen begin to shoot, somebody is going to 
get hurt. The man from Pompton, N. J., who al- 
ways wears an overcoat in July, had turned up in a 
Broadway hotel drinking hot Scotches and enjoying 
his annual ray from the calcium. Philanthropists 

I189J 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

were petitioning the Legislature to pass a bill requir- 
ing builders to make tenement fire-escapes more com- 
modious, so that families might die all together of 
the heat instead of one or two at a time. So many, 
men were telling you about the number of baths they 
took each day that you wondered how they got along 
after the real lessee of the apartment came back to 
town and thanked 'em for taking such good care of 
it. The young man who called loudly for cold beef 
and beer in the restaurant, protesting that roast pul- 
let and Burgundy was really too heavy for such 
weather, blushed when he met your eye, for you had 
heard him all winter calling, in modest tones, for the 
same ascetic viands. Soup, pocketbooks, shirt waists, 
actors and baseball excuses grew thinner. Yes, it was 
summertime. 

A man stood at Thirty-fourth street waiting for 
for a downtown car. A man of forty, gray-haired, 
pink-faced, keen, nervous, plainly dressed, with a har- 
assed look around the eyes. He wiped his forehead 
and laughed loudly when a fat man with an outing 
look stopped and spoke with him. 

" No, siree," he shouted with defiance and scorn. 
" None of your old mosquito-haunted swamps and 
skyscraper mountains without elevators for me. 
When I want to get away from hot weather I know 
how to do it. New York, sir, is the finest summer re- 
sort in the country. Keep in the shade and watch 

£190j 



A MIDSUMMER KNIGHT'S DREAM 

your diet, and don't get too far away from an elec- 
tric fan. Talk about your Adirondacks and your 
Catskills ! There's more solid comfort in the borough 
of Manhattan than in all the rest of the country to- 
gether. No, siree! No tramping up perpendicular 
cliffs and being waked up at 4 in the morning by a 
million flies, and eating canned goods straight from 
the city for me. Little old New York will take a few 
select summer boarders ; comforts and conveniences of 
homes — that's the ad. that I answer every time." 

" You need a vacation," said the fat man, looking 
closely at the other. " You haven't been away from 
town in years. Better come with me for two weeks, 
anyhow. The trout in the Beaverkill are jumping at 
anything now that looks like a fly. Harding writes 
me that he landed a three-pound brown last week." 

" Nonsense ! " cried the other man. " Go ahead, if 
you like, and boggle around in rubber boots wear- 
ing yourself out trying to catch fish. When I want 
one I go to a cool restaurant and order it. I laugh 
at you fellows whenever I think of you hustling 
around in tne heat in the country thinking you are 
having a good time. For me Father Knickerbocker's 
little improved farm with the big shady lane running 
through the middle of it." 

The fat man sighed over his friend and went 
his way. The man who thought New York was the 
greatest summer resort in the country boarded a car 

[191] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

and went buzzing down to his office. On the way he 
threw away his newspaper and looked up at a ragged 
patch of sky above the housetops. 

" Three pounds !" he muttered, absently. " And 
Harding isn't a liar. I believe, if I could — but it's 
impossible — they've got to have another month — 
another month at least." 

In his office the upholder of urban midsummer joys 
dived, headforemost, into the swimming pool of busi- 
ness. Adkins, his clerk, came and added a spray of 
letters, memoranda and telegrams. 

At 5 o'clock in the afternoon the busy man leaned 
back in his office chair, put his feet on the desk and 
mused aloud : 

" I wonder what kind of bait Harding used." 

She was all in white that day ; and thereby Comp- 
ton lost a bet to Gaines. Compton had wagered she 
would wear light blue, for she knew that was his 
favorite color, and Compton was a millionaire's son, 
and that almost laid him open to the charge of bet- 
ting on a sure thing. But white was her choice, and 
Gaines held up his head with twenty-five's lordly air. 

The little summer hotel in the mountains had a 
lively crowd that year. There were two or three 
young college men and a couple of artists and a 
young naval officer on one side. On the other there 
were enough beauties among the young ladies for the 

[192] 



A MIDSUMMER KNIGHT'S DREAM 

correspondent of a society paper to refer to them as 
a " bevy." But the moon among the stars was Mary 
Sewell. Each one of the young men greatly desired 
to arrange matters so that he could pay her millinery 
bills, and fix the furnace, and have her do away with 
the " Sewell " part of her name forever. Those who 
could stay only a week or two went away hinting at 
pistols and blighted hearts. But Compton stayed like 
the mountains themselves, for he could afford it. 
And Gaines stayed because he was a fighter and wasn't 
afraid of millionaire's sons, and — well, he adored the 
country. 

" What do you think, Miss Mary? " he said once. 
" I knew a duffer in New York who claimed to like 
it in the summer time. Said you could keep cooler 
there than you could in the woods. Wasn't he an 
awful silly? I don't think I could breathe on Broad- 
way after the 1st of June." 

" Mamma was thinking of going back week after 
next," said Miss Mary with a lovely frown. 

" But when you think of it," said Gaines, " there 
are lots of jolly places in town in the summer. The 
roof gardens, you know, and the — er — the roof 
gardens." 

Deepest blue was the lake that day — the day when 
they had the mock tournament, and the men rode 
clumsy farm horses around in a glade in the woods 

[193] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

and caught curtain rings on the end of a lance. Such 
fun! 

Cool and dry as the finest wine came the breath of 
the shadowed forest. The valley below was a vision 
seen through an opal haze. A white mist from hid- 
den falls blurred the green of a hand's breath of tree 
tops half-way down the gorge. Youth made merry 
hand-in-hand with young summer. Nothing on 
Broadway like that. 

The villagers gathered to see the city folks pursue 
their mad drollery. The woods rang with the laugh- 
ter of pixies and naiads and sprites. Gaines caught 
most of the rings. His was the privilege to crown the 
queen of the tournament. He was the conquering 
knight — as far as the rings went. On his arm he 
wore a white scarf. Compton wore light blue. She 
had declared her preference for blue, but she wore 
white that day. 

Gaines looked about for the queen to crown her. 
He heard her merry laugh, as if from the clouds. 
She had slipped away and climbed Chimney Rock, a 
little granite bluff, and stood there, a white fairy 
among the laurels, fifty feet above their heads. 

Instantly he and Compton accepted the implied 
challenge. The bluff was easily mounted at the rear, 
but the front offered small hold to hand or foot. 
Each man quickly selected his route and began to 
climb. A crevice, a bush, a slight projection, a vine 

[194] 



A MIDSUMMER KNIGHTS DREAM 

or tree branch — all of these were aids that counted in 
the race. It was all foolery — there was no stake; 
but there was youth in it, cross reader, and light 
hearts, and something else that Miss Clay writes so 
charmingly about. 

Gaines gave a great tug at the root of a laurel and 
pulled himself to Miss Mary's feet. On his arm he 
carried the wreath of roses; and while the villagers 
and summer boarders screamed and applauded below 
he placed it on the queen's brow. 

" You are a gallant knight," said Miss Mary. 

" If I could be your true knight always," began 
Gaines, but Miss Mary laughed him dumb, for Comp- 
ton scrambled over the edge of the rock one minute 
behind time. 

What a twilight that was when they drove back to 
the hotel! The opal of the valley turned slowly to 
purple, the dark woods framed the lake as a mirror, 
the tonic air stirred the very soul in one. The first 
pale stars came out over the mountain tops where yet 

a faint glow of 

******** 

" I beg your pardon, Mr. Gaines," said Adkins. 

The man who believed New York to be the finest 
summer resort in the world opened his eyes and kicked 
over the mucilage bottle on his desk. 

"I — I believe I was asleep," he said. 

[195] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" It's the heat," said Adkins. " It's something aw- 
ful in the city these " 

" Nonsense ! " said the other. " The city beats the 
country ten to one in summer. Fools go out tramp- 
ing in muddy brooks and wear themselves out trying 
to catch little fish as long as your finger. Stay in 
town and keep comfortable — that's my idea." 

" Some letters just came," said Adkins. " I 
thought you might like to glance at them before 
you go." 

Let us look over his shoulder and read just a few 
lines of one of them: 

My Dear, Dear Husband: Just received your 
letter ordering us to stay another month. . . . 
. . . Rita's cough is almost gone. . . . Johnny 
has simply gone wild like a little Indian. . . . 
Will be the making of both children. . . . work 
so hard, and I know that your business can hardly af- 
ford to keep us here so long. . . . best man that 
ever . . . you always pretend that you like the 
city in summer. . . . trout fishing that you used 
to be so fond of . . . and all to keep us well 
and happy . • . come to you if it were not do- 
ing the babies so much good. ... I stood last 
evening on Chimney Rock in exactly the same spot 
where I was when you put the wreath of roses on my 
head. . . . through all the world . . . 

[196] 



A MIDSUMMER KNIGHT'S DREAM 

when you said you would be my true knight . . . 
fifteen years ago, dear, just think! . . . have 
always been that to me . . . ever and ever, 

Mary. 

The man who said he thought New York the finest 
summer resort in the country dropped into a caf£ on 
his way home and had a glass of beer under an elec- 
tric fan. 

" Wonder what kind of a fly old Harding used," 
he said to himself. 



[197] 



1. 

' . it 1 

•' I-- 
t. ^ 



t 

[I ' >< • i /.A 



! , ^ ,\- 



THE LAST LEAF 

IN a little district west of Washington Square the 
streets have run crazy and broken themselves into 
small strips called " places." These " places " make 
strange angles and curves. ("One street crosses itself 
a time or two. An artist once discovered a valuable 
possibility in this street. Suppose a collector with a 
bill for paints, paper and canvas should, in traversing 
this route, suddenly meet himself coming back, with- 
out a cent having been paid on account ! 

So, to quaint old Greenwich Village the art people 
soon came prowling, hunting for north windows and 
eighteenth-century gables and Dutch attics and low 
rents. Then they imported some pewter mugs and a 
chafing dish or two from Sixth avenue, and became a 
" colony." 

At the top of a squatty, three-story brick Sue and 
Johnsy had their studio. " Johnsy " was familiar 
for Joanna. One was from Maine; the other from 
California. They had met at the table d'hoU of an 
Eighth street " Delmonico's," and found their tastes 
in art, chicory salad and bishop sleeves so congenial 
that the joint studio resulted. 

That was in May. In November a cold, unseen 

[198] 



THE LAST LEAF 

stranger, whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked 
about the colony, touching one here and there with 
his icy finger. Over on the east side this ravager 
strode boldly, smiting his victims by scores, but his 
feet trod slowly through the maze of the narrow and 
moss-grown " places." 

Mr. Pneumonia was not what you would call a 
chivalric old gentleman. A mite of a little woman 
with blood thinned by California zephyrs was hardly 
fair game for the red-fisted, short-breathed old duffer. 
But Johnsy he smote; and she lay, scarcely moving, 
on her painted iron bedstead, looking through the 
small Dutch window-panes at the blank side of the 
next brick houses 

One morning the busy doctor invited Sue into the 
hallway with a shaggy, gray eyebrow. 

" She has one chance in — let us say, ten," he said ; J 
as he shook down the mercury in his clinical ther- 
mometer. "And that chance is for her to want to 
live. This way people have of lining-up, on the side 
of the undertaker makes the entire pharmacopeia look 
silly. Your little lady has made up her mind that 
she's not going to get well. Has she anything on her 
mind?" 

" She — she wanted to paint the Bay of Naples 
some day," said Sue. 

" Paint ? — bosh ! Has she anything on her mind 
worth thinking about twice — a man, for instance?" 

[199] 



- > THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" A man? " said Sue, with a lewsharp twang in her 

- -,■■■■ „,' ■■ii,i.i..iW — y ■— .-...."• -o ■ 

voiqe. " Is a man worth — but, no, doctor ; there is 
nothing of the kind." 

" Well, it is the weakness, then," said the doctor. 
" I will do all that science, so far as it may filter 
through my efforts, can accomplish. But whenever 
my patient begins to count the carriages in her fun- 
dral procession I subtract 50 per cent, from the cura- 
tive power of medicines. If you will get her to ask 
one question about the new winter styles in cloak 
sleeves I will promise you a one-in-five chance for her, 
instead of one in ten." 

After the doctor had gone Sue went into the work- 
\y room and cried a Japanese napkin to a pulp. Then 
she swaggered into Johnsy's room with her drawing 
board, whistling ragtime. 

Johnsy lay, scarcely making a ripple under the 
bedclothes, with her face toward the window. Sue 
stopped whistling, thinking she was asleep. 

She arranged her board and began a pen-and-ink 
drawing to illustrate a magazine story. Young 
artists must pave their way to Art by drawing pic- 
tures for magazine stories that young authors write 
to pave their way to Literature. 

As Sue was sketching a pair of elegant horse- 
show riding trousers and a monocle on the figure of 
the hero, an Idaho cowboy, she heard a low sound, 

[200] 



THE LAST LEAF 

several times repeated. She went quickly to the bed- 
side. 

Johnsy's eyes were open wide. She was looking ^ 

out the window and counting — counting backward, f ^ .' *■ v 

" Twelve," she said, and a little later u eleven ; " 
and then " ten,* and " nine; " and then " eight " and 
" seven," almost together. 

Sue looked solicitously out the window. What was 
there to count? There was only a bare, dreary yard 
to be seen, and the blank side of the brick house 
twenty feet away. An old, old ivy vine, gnarled and 
decayed at the roots, climbed half way up the brick 
wall. The cold breath of autumn had stricken its 
leaves from the vine until its skeleton branches clung, 
almost bare, to the crumbling bricks. 

" What is it, dear? " asked Sue. 

" Six," ««d — JeJwwyr TO"-*}raeri — ar -w hisper . 
" They're falling faster now. Three days ago there s j ' * < • 
were almost a hundred. It made my head ache to 
count them. But now it's easy. There goes another 
one. There are only five left now." 

u Five what, dear. Tell your Sudie.' 

"Leaves. On the ivy vine. When the last one 
falls I must go, too. I've known that for three days. 
Didn't the doctor tell you? " 

" Oh, I never heard of such nonsense," complained 

*«n urn ■ W - «. -*»"»* ,r 

Sue, with magnificent scorn. " What have old ivy 
leaves to do with your getting well? And you used 

[801] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

to love that vine so, you naughty girl. Don't be a 
goosey. Why, the doctor told me this morning that 
your chances for getting well real soon were — let's 
see exactly what he said — he said the chances were 
ten to one! Why, that's almost as good a chance as 
we have in New York when we ride on the street 
cars or walk past a new building. Try to take some 
broth now, and let Sudie go back to her drawing, so 
she can sell the editor man with it, and buy port wine 
for her sick child, and pork chops for her greedy 
self." 

"You needn't get any more wine," said Jo^gyj 
keeping her eyes fixed out the window. " There goes 
another. No, I don't want any broth. That leaves 
just four. I want to see the last one fall before it 
gets dark. Then I'll go, too." 

" Johnsy, dear," said Sue, bending over her, " will 
you promise me to keep your eyes closed, and not 
look out the window until I am done working? I 
must hand those drawings in by to-morrow. I need 
the light, or I would draw the shade down." 

"Couldn't you draw in the other room?" asked 
Johnsy, coldly. 

" I'd rather be here by you," said Sue. " Besides, 
I don't want you to keep looking at those silly ivy 
leaves." 

" Tell me as soon as you have finished," ~$Kld 
Johnsy, closing her eyes, and lying white and still as 

[202] 



THE LAST LEAF 

a— faHett jgtatttQ) " because I want to see the last 
one fall. I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired of think- 
ing. I want to turn loose my hold on everything, 
and go sailing down, down, just like one of those 
poor, tired leaves." 

" Try to sleep," said Sue. " I must call Behrman 
up to be my model for the old hermit miner. I'll not 
be gone a minute. Don't try to move 'till I come 

^OldfBehrman was a painter who lived on the ground 
floor beneath them. He was past sixty and had a 
Michael Angelo's Moses beard curling down from the 
head of a dStyr along the body of an imp. Behrman 
was a failure in art. Forty years he had wielded the 
brush without getting near enough to touch the hem 
of his Mistress's robe. He had been always about 
to paint a masterpiece, but had never yet begun it. 
For several years he had painted nothing except now 
and then a daub in the line of commerce or advertis- 
ing. He earned a little by serving as a model to those 
young artists in the colony who could not pay the 
price of a professional. He drank gin to excess, and 
still talked of his coming masterpiece. For the rest 
he was a fierce little old man, whp scoffed terribly at 
softness in any one, and who regarded himself as 
especial jpastiff-ln-waiting to protect the two young 
artists in the studio above. 

Sue found Behrman smelling strongly of juniper 

[80S] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

berries in his dimly lighted den below. In one corner 
was a blank canvas on an easel that had been waiting 
there for twenty-five years to receive the first line of 
the masterpiece. She told him of Johnsy's fancy, 
and how she feared she would, indeed, light and 
fragile as a leaf herself, float away when her slight 
hold upon the world grew weaker. 

Old Behrman, with his red eyes plainly streaming, 
shouted his contempt and derision for such idiotic 
imaginings. 

" Vass ! " he cried. " Is dere people in de world 
mit der foolishness to die because leafs dey drop off 
from a confounded vine? I haf not heard of such a 
thing. No, I vill not bose as a model for your fool 
hermit-dunderhead. Vy do you allow dot silly pusi- 
ness to come in der pVain of her? Ach, dot poor lettle 
Miss Johnsy." 

" She is very ill and weak," said Sue, " and the 
fever has left her mind morbid and full of strange 
fancies. Very well, Mr. Behrman, if you do not 
care to pose for me, you needn't. But I think you 
are a horrid old — old flibbertigibbet. ,, 

"You are just like a woman !" yelled Behrman. 
"Who said I vill not bose? Go on. I come mit 
you. For half an hour I haf peen trying to say dot 
I am ready to bose. Gott! dis is not any blace in 
which one so goot as Miss Yohnsy shall lie sick. 

[204] 



( 



THE LAST LEAF 

Some day I vill baint a masterpiece, and ve shall all 
go avay. Gott! yes." 

Johnsy was sleeping when they went upstairs. Sue 
pulled the shade down to the window-sill, and mo- 
tioned Behrman into the other room. In there they 
peered out the window fearfully at the ivy vine. 
Then, they looked at each other for a moment with- 
out speaking. A persistent, cold rain was falling, 
mingled with snow. Behrman, in his old blue shirt, 
took his seat as the hermit-miner on an upturned 
kettle for a rock. 

When Sue awoke from an hour's sleep the next 
morning she found Johnsy with dull, wide-open eyes 
staring at the drawn green shade. 

"Pull it up; I want to see," she ordered, in-a 

Wearily Sue obeyed. 

But, lo! after the beating rain and fierce gusts of ~} 
wind that had endured through the livelong night, \ o^ 
there yet stood out against the brick wall one ivy 
leaf. It was the last on the vine. Still dark green 
near its stem, but with its serrated edges tinted with 
the yellow of dissolution and decay, it hung bravely 
from a branch some twenty feet above the ground. 

" It is the last one," said Johnsy. " I thought it 
would surely fall during the night. I heard the wind. 
It will fall to-day, and I shall die at the same time." 

" Dear, dear ! " said Sue, leaning her worn face 

T«05] '" 



^ 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

down to the pillow, " think of me, if you won't think 
of yourself. What would I do? " 

But Johnsy did not answer. The lonesomest thing 
in all the world is a soul when it is making ready 
to go on its mysterious, far journey. The fancy 
seemed to possess her more strongly as one by one 
the ties that bound her to friendship and to earth 
were loosed. 

The day wore away, and even through the twilight 
they could see the lone ivy leaf clinging to its stem 
against the wall. And then, with the coming of the 
nightithe north wind was again loosed, while the rain 
still beat against the windows and pattered down from 
the low Dutch eaves. 

When it was light enough Johnsy, the merciless, 
commanded that the shade be raised. 

The ivy leaf was still there. 

Johnsy lay for a long time looking at it. And then 
she called to Sue, who was stirring her chicken broth 
over the gas stove. 

" I've been a bad girl, Sudie," said Johnsy. 
" Something has made that last leaf stay there to show 
me how wicked I was. It is a sin to want to die. 
You may bring me a little broth now, and some milk 
with a little port in it, and — no ; bring me a hand- 
mirror first; and then pack some pillows about me, 
and I will sit up and watch you cook." 

An hour later she said. 

[206] 



THE LAST LEAF 

" Sudie, some day I hope to paint the Bay of 
Naples." 

The doctor came in the afternoon, and Sue had an 
excuse to go into the hallway as he left. 

" Even chances," saidJhfijdoctor, taking Sue's thin, 
shji&ltfg^rarad^ tifhis. " With good nursing you'll 
win. And how I must see another case I have down- 
stairs. Behrman, his name is — some kind of an 
artist, I believe. Pneumonia, too. He is an old, 
weak man, and the attack is acute. There is no hope 
for him ; but he goes to the hospital to-day to be made 
more comfortable." 

The next day the doctor said to Sue : " She's out" 
of danger. You've won. Nutrition and care now — 
that's all." 

And that afternoon Sue came to the bed where 
Johnsy lay, contentedly knitting a very blue and very 
useless woolen shoulder scarf, and put one arm around 
her, pillows and all. 

" I have something to tell you, white mouse," she 
said. " Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia to-day in 
the hospital. He was ill only two days. The janitor 
found him on the morning of the first day in his room 
downstairs helpless with pain. His shoes and cloth- 
ing were wet through and icy cold. They couldn't 
imagine where he had been on such a dreadful night* 
And then they found a lantern, still lighted, and a 
ladder that had been dragged from its place, and 

[807] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

some scattered brushes, and a palette with green and 
yellow colors mixed on it, and — look out the win- 
dow, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Didn't 
you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the 
wind blew? Ah, darling, it's Belirman's masterpiece 
— he painted it there the night that the last leaf 
fell." "" 



•n 



[«08] 



THE COUNT AND THE WEDDING GUEST 

ONE evening when Andy Donovan went to dinner 
at his Second Avenue boarding-house, Mrs. Scott in- 
troduced him to a new boarder, a young lady, Miss 
Conway, Miss Conway was small and unobtrusive. 
She wore a plain, snuffy-brown dress, and bestowed 
her interest, which seemed languid, upon her plate. 
She lifted her diffident eyelids and shot one per- 
spicuous, judicial glance at Mr. Donovan, politely 
murmured his name, and returned to her mutton. 
Mr. Donovan bowed with the grace and beaming smile 
that were rapidly winning for him social, business and 
political advancement, and erased the snuffy-brown 
one from the tablets of his consideration. 

Two weeks later Andy was sitting on the front 
steps enjoying his cigar. There was a soft rustle 
behind and above him, and Andy turned his head — 
and had his head turned. 

Just coming out the door was Miss Conway, She 
wore a night-black dress of crepe de — crepe de — oh, 
this thin black goods. Her hat was black, and from 
it drooped and fluttered an ebon veil, filmy as a 
spider's web. She stood on the top step and drew 
on black silk gloves. Not a speck of white or a spot 

[209] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

of color about her dress anywhere. Her rich golden 
hair was drawn, with scarcely a ripple, into a shining, 
smooth knot low on her neck. Her face was plain 
rather than pretty, but it was now illuminated and 
made almost beautiful by her large gray eyes that 
gazed above the houses across the street into the sky 
with an expression of the most appealing sadness and 
melancholy. 

Gather the idea, girls — all black, you know, with 
the preference for crepe de — oh, crepe de Chine — 
that's it. All black, and that sad, faraway look, and 
the hair shining under the black veil (you have to be 
a blonde, of course), and try to look as if, although 
your young life had been blighted just as it was about 
to give a hop-skip-and-a-jump over the threshold of 
life, a walk in the park might do you good, and be 
sure to happen out the door at the right moment, and 
— oh, it'll fetch 'em every time. But it's fierce, now, 
how cynical I am, ain't it? — to talk about mourning 
costumes this way. 

Mr. Donovan suddenly reinscribed Miss Conway 
upon the tablets of his consideration. He threw away 
the remaining inch-and-a-quarter of his cigar, that 
would have been good for eight minutes yet, and 
quickly shifted his center of gravity to his low cut 
patent leathers. 

" It's a fine, clear evening, Miss Conway," he said ; 
and if the Weather Bureau could have heard the con- 

[210] 



THE COUNT AND THE WEDDING GUEST 

fident emphasis of his tones it would have hoisted the 
square white signal, and nailed it to the mast. 

" To them that has the heart to enjoy it, it is, Mr. 
Donovan," said Miss Conway, with a sigh. 

Mr. Donovan, in his heart, cursed fair weather. 
Heartless weather ! It should hail and blow and snow 
to be consonant with the mood of Miss Conway. 

" I hope none of your relatives — I hope you 
haven't sustained a loss? " ventured Mr. Donovan. 

" Death has claimed," said Miss Conway, hesitat- 
ing — " not a relative, but one who — but I will not 
intrude my grief upon you, Mr. Donovan." 

" Intrude? " protested Mr. Donovan. " Why, say, 
Miss Conway, I'd be delighted, that is, I'd be sorry 
— I mean Pm sure nobody could sympathize with you 
truer than I would." 

Miss Conway smiled a little smile. And oh, it was 
sadder than her expression in repose. 

" 4 Laugh, and the world laughs with you ; weep, 
and they give you the laugh,' " she quoted. 

" I have learned that, Mr. Donovan. I have no 
friends or acquaintances in this city. But you have 
been kind to me. I appreciate it highly." 

He had passed her the pepper twice at the table. 

" It's tough to be alone in New York — that's a 
cinch," said Mr. Donovan. " But, say — whenever 
this little old town does loosen up and get friendly 
it goes the limit. Say you took a little stroll in the 

[211] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

park, Miss Conway — don't you think it might chase 
away some of your mully grubs? And if you'd allow 
me — " 

" Thanks, Mr. Donovan. I'd be pleased to accept 
of your escort if you think the company of one whose 
heart is filled with gloom could be anyways agreeable 
to you." 

Through the open gates of the iron-railed, old, 
downtown park, where the elect once took the air, they 
strolled, and found a quiet bench. 

There is this difference between the grief of youth 
and that of old age; youth's burden is lightened by 
as much of it as another shares ; old age may give and 
give, but the sorrow remains the same. 

" He was my fiance," confided Miss Conway, at the 
end of an hour. " We were going to be married next 
spring. I don't want you to think that I am string- 
ing you, Mr. Donovan, but he was a real Count. He 
had an estate and a castle in Italy. Count Fernando 
Mazzini was his name. I never saw the beat of him 
for elegance. Papa objected, of course, and once we 
eloped, but papa overtook us, and took us back. I 
thought sure papa and Fernando would fight a duel. 
Papa has a livery business — in P'kipsee, you know. 

" Finally, papa came 'round, all right, and said 
we might be married next spring. Fernando showed 
him proofs of his title and wealth, and then went 
over to Italy to get the castle fixed up for us. Papa's 

[212] 



THE COUNT AND THE WEDDING GUEST 

very proud, and when Fernando wanted to give me 
several thousand dollars for my trousseau he called 
him down something awful. He wouldn't even let 
me take a ring or any presents from him. And when 
Fernando sailed I came to the city and got a posi- 
tion as cashier in a candy store. 

" Three days ago I got a letter from Italy, for- 
warded from P'kipsee, saying that Fernando had been 
killed in a gondola accident. 

" That is why I am in mourning. My heart, Mr. 
Donovan, will remain forever in his grave. I guess 
I am poor company, Mr. Donovan, but I cannot take 
any interest in no one. I should not care to keep you 
from gayety and your friends who can smile and 
entertain you. Perhaps you would prefer to walk 
back to the house?" 

Now, girls, if you want to observe a young man 
hustle out after a pick and shovel, just tell him that 
your heart is in some other fellow's grave. Young 
men are grave-robbers by nature. Ask any widow. 
Something must be done to restore that missing organ 
to weeping angels in crepe de Chine. Dead men cer- 
tainly got the worst of it from all sides. 

" I'm awful sorry," said Mr. Donovan, gently. 
" No, we won't walk back to the house just yet. And 
don't say you haven't no friends in this city, Miss 
Conway. I'm awful sorry, and I want you to believe 
I'm your friend, and that I'm awful sorry." 

[«13] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" I've got his picture here in my locket," said Miss 
Conway, after wiping her eyes with her handkerchief. 
" I never showed it to anybody ; but I will to you, 
Mr. Donovan, because I believe you to be a true 
friend." 

Mr. Donovan gazed long and with much interest 
at the photograph in the locket that Miss Conway 
opened for him. The face of Count Mazzini was one 
to command interest. It was a smooth, intelligent, 
bright, almost a handsome face — the face of a 
strong, cheerful man who might well be a leader 
among his fellows. 

" I have a larger one, framed, in my room," said 
Miss Conway. " When we return I will show you 
that. They are all I have to remind me of Fernando. 
But he ever will be present in my heart, that's a sure 
thing." 

A subtle task confronted Mr. Donovan — that of 
supplanting the unfortunate Count in the heart of 
Miss Conway. This his admiration for her deter- 
mined him to do. But the magnitude of the under- 
taking did not seem to weigh upon his spirits. The 
sympathetic but cheerful friend was the role he es- 
sayed; and he played it so successfully that the next 
half -hour found them conversing pensively across two 
plates of ice-cream, though yet there was no diminu- 
tion of the sadness in Miss Conway's large gray eyes. 

Before they parted in the hall that evening she ran 

[814] 



THE COUNT AND THE WEDDING GUEST 

upstairs and brought down the framed photograph 
wrapped lovingly in a white silk scarf. Mr. Dono- 
van surveyed it with inscrutable eyes. 

" He gave me this the night he left for Italy," said 
Miss Conway. " I had the one for the locket made 
from this." 

" A fine-looking man," said Mr. Donovan, heartily. 
" How would it suit you, Miss Conway, to give me 
pleasure of your company to Coney next Sunday 
afternoon?" 

A month later they announced their engagement 
to Mrs. Scott and the other boarders. Miss Conway 
continued to wear black. 

A week after the announcement the two sat on the 
same bench in the downtown park, while the fluttering 
leaves of the trees made a dim kinetoscopic picture of 
them in the moonlight. But Donovan had worn a 
look of abstracted gloom all day. He was so silent 
to-night that love's lips could not keep back any 
longer the questions that love's heart propounded. 

" What's the matter, Andy, you are so solemn and 
grouchy to-night? " 

" Nothing, Maggie." 

"I know better. Can't I tell? You never acted 
this way before. What is it? 

" It's nothing much, Maggie." 

" Yes it is ; and I want to know. I'll bet it's some 
other girl you are thinking about. All right. Why 

[815] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 



don't you go get her if you want her? Take your 
arm away, if you please." 

"I'll tell you then," said Andy, wisely, "but I 
guess you won't understand it exactly. You've heard 
of Mike Sullivan, haven't you? 'Big Mike* Sulli- 
van, everybody calls him." 

" No, I haven't," said Maggie. " And I don't want 
to, if he makes you act like this. Who is he? " 

" He's the biggest man in New York," said Andy, 
almost reverently. " He can about do anything he 
wants to with Tammany or any other old thing in 
the political line. He's a mile high and as broad as 
East River. You say anything against Big Mike, 
and you'll have a million men on your collarbone in 
about two seconds. Why, he made a visit over to the 
old country awhile back, and the kings took to their 
holes like rabbits. 

" Well, Big Mike's a friend of mine. I ain't more 
than deuce-high in the district as far as influence 
goes, but Mike's as good a friend to a little man, or 
a poor man as he is to a big one. I met him to-day 
on the Bowery, and what do you think he does? 
Comes up and shakes hands. c Andy,* says he, * I've 
been keeping cases on you. You've been putting in 
some good licks over on your side of the street, and 
I'm proud of you. What'll you take to drink? ' He 
takes a cigar, and I take a highball. I told him 
I was going to get married in two weeks. ' Andy,' 

[216] 



THE COUNT AND THE WEDDING GUEST 

says he, ' send me an invitation, so Fll keep in mind 
of it, and I'll come to the wedding.' That's what 
Big Mike says to me; and he always does what he 
says. 

"You don't understand it, Maggie, but I'd have 
one of my hands cut off to have Big Mike Sullivan at 
our wedding. It would be the proudest day of my 
life. When he goes to a man's wedding, there's a guy 
being married that's made for life. Now, that's why 
I've maybe looking sore to-night." 

" Why don't you invite him, then, if he's so much 
to the mustard? " said Maggie, lightly. 

" There's a reason why I can't," said Andy, sadly. 
" There's a reason why he mustn't be there. Don't 
ask me what it is, for I can't tell you." 

" Oh, I don't care," said Maggie. u It's something 
about politics, of course. But it's no reason why you 
can't smile at me." 

" Maggie," said Andy, presently, " do you think as 
much of me as you did of your — as you did of the 
Count Mazzini? " 

He waited a long time, but Maggie did not reply. 
And then, suddenly she leaned against his shoulder 
and began to cry — to cry and shake with sobs, hold- 
ing his arm tightly, and wetting the crepe de Chine 
with tears. 

" There, there, there ! " soothed Andy, putting aside 
his own trouble. " And what is it, now? " 

[217] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" Andy," sobbed Maggie. " I've lied to you, and 
you'll never marry me, or love me any more. But I 
feel that I've got to tell. Andy, there never was so 
much as the little finger of a count. I never had a 
beau in my life. But all the other girls had; and 
they talked about 'em; and that seemed to make the 
fellows like 'em more. And, Andy, I look swell in 
black — you know I do. So I went out to a photo- 
graph store and bought that picture, and had a little 
one made for my locket, and made up all that story 
about the Count, and about his being killed, so I could 
wear black. And nobody can love a liar, and you'll 
shake me, Andy, and I'll die for shame. Oh, there 
never was anybody I liked but you — and that's all." 

But instead of being pushed away, she found 
Andy's arm folding her closer. She looked up and 
saw his face cleared and smiling. 

"Could you — could you forgive me, Andy?" 

" Sure," said Andy. " It's all right about that- 
Back to the cemetery for the Count. You've 
straightened everything out, Maggie. I was in hopes 
you would before the wedding-day. Bully girl ! " 

" Andy," said Maggie, with a somewhat shy smile, 
after she had been thoroughly assured of forgiveness, 
" did you believe all that story about the Count? " 

" Well, not to any large extent," said Andy, reach- 
ing for his cigar case ; " because it's Big Mike Sul- 
livan's picture you've got in that locket of yours." 

[818] 



THE COUNTRY OF ELUSION 

THE cunning writer will choose an indefinable sub- 
ject, for he can then set down his theory of what it is; 
and next, at length, his conception of what it is not 
— and lo ! his paper is covered. Therefore let us fol- 
low the prolix and unmapable trail into that mooted 
country, Bohemia. 

Grainger, sub-editor of Doe's Magazine, closed his 
roll-top desk, put on his hat, walked into the hall, 
punched the " down " button, and waited for the 
elevator. 

Grainger's day had been trying. The chief had 
tried to ruin the magazine a dozen times by going 
against Grainger's ideas for running it. A lady 
whose grandfather had fought with McClellan had 
brought a portfolio of poems in person. 

Grainger was curator of the Lion's House of the 
magazine. That day he had " lunched " an Arctic 
explorer, a short-story writer, and the famous con- 
ductor of a slaughter-house expos£. Consequently his 
mind was in a whirl of icebergs, Maupassant, and 
trichinosis. 

But there was a surcease and a recourse ; there was 

[819] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

Bohemia. He would seek distraction there ; and, let's 
see — he would call by for Mary Adrian. 

Half an hour later he threaded his way like a 
Brazilian orchid-hunter through the palm forest in 
the tiled entrance hall of the " Idealia " apartment- 
house. One day the christeners of apartment-houses 
and the cognominators of sleeping-cars will meet, and 
there will be some jealous and sanguinary knifing. 

The clerk breathed Grainger's name so languidly 
into the house telephone that it seemed it must surely 
drop, from sheer inertia, down to the janitor's regions. 
But, at length, it soared dilatorily up to Miss Adrian's 
ear. Certainly, Mr. Grainger was to come up imme- 
diately. 

A colored maid with an Eliza-crossing-the-ice ex- 
pression opened the door of the apartment for him. 
Grainger walked sideways down the narrow hall. A 
bunch of burnt umber hair and a sea-green eye ap- 
peared in the crack of a door. A long, white, un- 
draped arm came out, barring the way. 

" So glad you came, Ricky, instead of any of the 
others," said the eye. " Light a cigarette and give 
it to me. Going to take me to dinner? Fine. Go 
into the front room till I finish dressing. But don't 
sit in your usual chair. There's pie in it — Mer- 
ingue. Kappelman threw it at Reeves last evening 
while he was reciting. Sophy has just come to 
straighten up. Is it lit? Thanks. There's Scotch 

[880] 



THE COUNTRY OF ELUSION 

on the mantel — oh, no, it isn't — that's chartreuse. 
Ask Sophy to find you some. I won't be long." 

Grainger escaped the meringue. As he waited his 
spirits sank still lower. The atmosphere of the room 
was as vapid as a zephyr wandering over a Vesuvian 
lava-bed. Relics of some feast lay about the room, 
scattered in places where even a prowling cat would 
have been surprised to find them. A straggling clus- 
ter of deep red roses in a marmalade jar bowed their 
heads over tobacco ashes and unwashed goblets. A 
chafing-dish stood on the piano ; a leaf of sheet music 
supported a stack of sandwiches in a chair. 

Mary came in, dressed and radiant. Her gown 
was of that thin, black fabric whose name through 
the change of a single vowel seems to summon vis- 
ions ranging between the extremes of man's experience. 
Spelled with an " e " it belongs to Gallic witchery and 
diaphanous dreams ; with an " a " it drapes lamenta- 
tion and woe. 

That evening they went to the Cafe* Andre\ And, 
as people would confide to you in a whisper that 
Andre's was the only truly Bohemian restaurant in 
town, it may be well to follow them. 

Andre began his professional career as a waiter in 
a Bowery ten-cent eating-house. Had you seen him 
there you would have called him tough — to yourself. 
Not aloud, for he would have " soaked " you as 
quickly as he would have soaked his thumb in your 

[221] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

coffee. He saved money and started a basement table 
d'hote in Eighth (or Ninth) Street. One afternoon 
Andr£ drank too much absinthe. He announced to 
his startled family that he was the Grand Llama of 
Thibet, therefore requiring an empty audience hall in 
which to be worshiped. He moved all the tables and 
chairs from the restaurant into the back yard, wrapped 
a red table-cloth around himself, and sat on a step- 
ladder for a throne. When the diners began to ar- 
rive, madame, in a flurry of despair, laid cloths and 
ushered them, trembling, outside. Between the tables 
clothes-lines were stretched, bearing the family wash. 
A party of Bohemia hunters greeted the artistic inno- 
vation with shrieks and acclamations of delight. 
That week's washing was not taken in for two years. 
When Andre came to his senses he had the menu 
printed on stiffly starched cuffs, and served the ices 
in little wooden tubs. Next he took down his sign 
and darkened the front of the house. When you 
went there to dine you fumbled for an electric button 
and pressed it. A lookout slid open a panel in the 
door, looked at you suspiciously, and asked if you 
were acquainted with Senator Herodotus Q. McMil- 
ligan, of the Chickasaw Nation. If you were, you 
were admitted and allowed to dine. If you were not, 
you were admitted and allowed to dine. There you 
have one of the abiding principles of Bohemia. 
When Andre had accumulated $20,000 he moved up- 

£228] 



THE COUNTRY OF ELUSION 

town, near Broadway, in the fierce light that beats 
upon the thrown-down. There we find him and leave 
him, with customers in pearls and automobile veils, 
striving to catch his excellently graduated nod of 
recognition. 

There is a large round table in the northeast corner 
of Andre's at which six can sit. To this table 
Grainger and Mary Adrian made their way. Kap- 
pelman and Reeves were already there. And Miss 
Tooker, who designed the May cover for the Ladies 9 
Notathome Magazine. And Mrs. Pothunter, who 
never drank anything but black and white highballs, 
being in mourning for her husband, who — oh, I've 
forgotten what he did — died, like as not. 

Spaghetti-weary reader, wouldst take one penny-in- 
the-slot peep into the fair land of Bohemia? Then 
look ; and when you think you have seen it you have 
not. And it is neither thimbleriggery nor astig- 
matism. 

The walls of the Caf6 Andr6 were covered with 
original sketches by the artists who furnished much 
of the color and sound of the place. Fair woman fur- 
nished the theme for the bulk of the drawings. When 
you say " sirens and siphons " you come near to esti- 
mating the alliterative atmosphere of Andres. 

First, I want you to meet my friend, Miss Adrian. 
Miss Tooker and Mrs. Pothunter you already know. 
While she tucks in the fingers of her elbow gloves you 

[223] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

shall have her daguerreotype. So faint and uncertain 
shall the portrait be: 

Age, somewhere between twenty-seven and high- 
neck evening dresses. Camaraderie in large bunches 
— whatever the fearful word may mean. Habitat — 
anywhere from Seattle to Terra del Fuego. Tem- 
perament uncharted — she let Reeves squeeze her 
hand after he recited one of his poems ; but she counted 
the change after sending him out with a dollar to 
buy some pickled pig's feet. Deportment 75 out of 
a possible 100. Morals 100. 

Mary was one of the princesses of Bohemia. In 
the first place, it was a royal and a daring thing to 
have been named Mary. There are twenty Fifines 
and Heloises to one Mary in the Country of Elusion. 

Now her gloves are tucked in. Miss Tooker has 
assumed a June poster pose; Mrs. Pothunter has 
bitten her lips to make the red show ; Reeves has sev- 
eral times felt his coat to make sure that his latest 
poem is in the pocket. (It had been neatly typewrit- 
ten; but he has copied it on the backs of letters with 
a pencil.) Kappelman is underhandedly watching 
the clock. It is ten minutes to nine. When the hour 
comes it is to remind him of a story. Synopsis: A 
French girl says to her suitor: "Did you ask my 
father for my hand at nine o'clock this morning, as 
you said you would? " " I did not," he replies. 
"At nine o'clock I was fighting a duel with swords 

r 2s *] 



THE COUNTRY OF ELUSION 

in the Bois de Boulogne." " Coward ! " she hisses. 

The dinner was ordered. You know how the Bo- 
hemian feast of reason keeps up with the courses. 
Humor with the oysters ; wit with the soup ; repartee 
with the entree; brag with the roast; knocks for 
Whistler and Kipling with the salad; songs with the 
coffee ; the slapsticks with the cordials. 

Between Miss Adrian's eyebrows was the pucker 
that shows the intense strain it requires to be at ease 
in Bohemia. Pat must come each sally, mot, and 
epigram. Every second of deliberation upon a reply 
costs you a bay leaf. Fine as a hair, a line began to 
curve from her nostril to her mouth. To hold her 
own not a chance must be missed. A sentence ad- 
dressed to her must be as a piccolo, each word of it a 
stop, which she must be prepared to seize upon and 
play. And she must always be quicker than a Micmac 
Indian to paddle the light canoe of conversation away 
from the rocks in the rapids that flow from the Pierian 
spring. For, plodding reader, the handwriting . on 
the wall in the banquet hall of Bohemia is " Laisser 
faire." The gray ghost that sometimes peeps 
through the rings of smoke is that of skid old King 
Convention. Freedom is the tyrant that holds them 
in slavery. 

As the dinner waned, hands reached for the pepper 
cruet rather than for the shaker of Attic salt. Miss 

[2*5] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

Tooker, with an elbow to business, leaned across the 
table toward Grainger, upsetting her glass of wine. 

" Now while you are fed and in good humor," she 
said, " I want to make a suggestion to you about a 
new cover." 

" A good idea," said Grainger, mopping the table- 
cloth with his napkin. " I'll speak to the waiter 
about it." 

Kappelman, the painter, was the cut-up. As a 
piece of delicate Athenian wit he got up from his chair 
and waltzed down the room with a waiter. That de- 
pendent, no doubt an honest, pachydermatous, worthy, 
tax-paying, art-despising biped, released himself from 
the unequal encounter, carried his professional smile 
back to the dumb-waiter and dropped it down the 
shaft to eternal oblivion. Reeves began to make 
Keats turn in his grave. Mrs. Pothunter told the 
story of the man who met the widow on the train. 
Miss Adrian hummed what it still called a chanson in 
the cafes of Bridgeport. Grainger edited each in- 
dividual effort with his assistant editor's smile, which 
meant: "Great! but you'll have to send them in 
through the regular channels. If I were the chief 
now — but you know how it is." 

And soon the head waiter bowed before them, deso- 
lated to relate that the closing hour had already be- 
come chronologically historical ; so out all trooped into 
the starry midnight, filling the street with gay laugh- 

[826] 



THE COUNTRY OF ELUSION 

ter, to be barked at by hopeful cabmen and enviously 
eyed by the dull inhabitants of an uninspired world. 

Grainger left Mary at the elevator in the trackless 
palm forest of the Idealia. After he had gone she 
came down again carrying a small hand-bag, 'phoned 
for a cab, drove to the Grand Central Station, boarded 
a 12.55 commuter's train, rode four hours with her 
burnt-umber head bobbing against the red-plush back 
of the seat, and landed during a fresh, stinging, 
glorious sunrise at a deserted station, the size of a 
peach crate, called Crocusville. 

She walked a mile and clicked the latch of a gate. 
A bare, brown cottage stood twenty yards back; an 
old man with a pearl-white, Calvinistic face and clothes 
dyed blacker than a raven in a coal-mine was washing 
his hands in a tin basin on the front porch. 

" How are you, father? " said Mary timidly. 

" I am as well as Providence permits, Mary Ann. 
You will find your mother in the kitchen." 

In the kitchen a cryptic, gray woman kissed her 
glacially on the forehead, and pointed out the potatoes 
which were not yet peeled for breakfast. Mary sat in 
a wooden chair and decorticated spuds, with a thrill 
in her heart. 

For breakfast there were grace, cold bread, pota- 
toes, bacon, and tea. 

" You are pursuing the same avocation in the city 

[827] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

concerning which you have advised us from time to 
time by letter, I trust," said her father. 

" Yes," said Mary, "I am still reviewing books 
for the same publication." 

After breakfast she helped wash the dishes, and 
then all three sat in straight-back chairs in the bare- 
floored parlor. 

" It is my custom," said the old man, " on the Sab- 
bath day to read aloud from the great work entitled 
the ' Apology for Authorized and Set Forms of Lit- 
urgy,' by the ecclesiastical philosopher and revered 
theologian, Jeremy Taylor." 

"I know it," said Mary blissfully, folding her 
hands. 

For two hours the numbers of the great Jeremy 
rolled forth like the notes of an oratorio played on 
the violoncello. Mary sat gloating in the new sensa- 
tion of racking physical discomfort that the wooden 
chair brought her. Perhaps there is no happiness in 
life so perfect as the martyr's. Jeremy's minor 
chords soothed her like the music of a tom-tom. 
" Why, oh why," she said to herself, " does some one 
not write words to it? " 

At eleven they went to church in Crocusville. The 
back of the pine bench on which she sat had a peni- 
tental forward tilt that would have brought St. Simeon 
down, in jealousy, from his pillar. The preacher 
singled her out, and thundered upon her vicarious 

[228] 



THE COUNTRY OP ELUSION 

head the damnation of the world. At each side of 
her an adamant parent held her rigidly to the bar of 
judgment. An ant crawled upon her neck, but she 
dared not move. She lowered her eyes before the con- 
gregation — a hundred-eyed Cerberus that watched 
the gates through which her sins were fast thrusting 
her. Her soul was filled with a delirious, almost a 
fanatic joy. For she was out of the clutch of the 
tyrant, Freedom. Dogma and creed pinioned her 
with beneficent cruelty, as steel braces bind the feet of 
a crippled child. She was hedged, adjured, shackled, 
shored up, strait- jacketed, silenced, ordered. When 
they came out the minister stopped to greet them. 
Mary could only hang her head and answer " Yes, 
sir," and " No, sir," to his questions. When she saw 
that the other women carried their hymn-books at 
their waists with their left hands, she blushed and 
moved hers there, too, from her right. 

She took the three-o'clock train back to the city. 
At nine she sat at the round table for dinner in the 
Cafe AndrS. Nearly the same crowd was there. 

" Where have you been to-day?" asked Mrs. Pot- 
hunter. " I 'phoned to you at twelve." 

" I have been away in Bohemia," answered Mary, 
with a mystic smile. 

There ! Mary has given it away. She has spoiled 
my climax. For I was to have told you that Bo- 
hemia is nothing more than the little country in which 

[229] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

you do not live. If you try to obtain citizenship in 
it, at once the court and retinue pack the royal 
archives and treasure and move away beyond the 
hills. It is a hillside that you turn your head to peer 
at from the windows of the Through Express. 

At exactly half past eleven Kappelman, deceived by 
a new softness and slowness of riposte and parry in 
Mary Adrian, tried to kiss her. Instantly she slap- 
ped his face with such strength and cold fury that he 
shrank down, sobered, with the flaming red print of 
a hand across his leering features. And all sounds 
ceased, as when the shadows of great wings come upon 
a flock of chattering sparrows. One had broken the 
paramount law of sham-Bohemia — the law of " Lai*- 
ser faire." The shock came not from the blow de- 
livered, but from the blow received. With the effect 
of a schoolmaster entering the play-room of his pupils 
was that blow administered. Women pulled down 
their sleeves and laid prim hands against their ruffled 
side locks. Men looked at their watches. There was 
nothing of the effect of a brawl about it ; it was purely 
the still panic produced by the sound of the ax of 
the fly cop, Conscience hammering at the gambling- 
house doors of the Heart. 

With their punctilious putting on of cloaks, with 
their exaggerated pretense of not having seen or 
heard, with their stammering exchange of unaccus- 
tomed formalities, with their false show of a light- 

[280] 



THE COUNTRY OF ELUSION 

hearted exit I must take leave of my Bohemian party. 
Mary has robbed me of my climax ; and she may go. 

But I am not defeated. Somewhere there exists a 
great vault miles broad and miles long — more ca- 
pacious than the champagne caves of France. In 
that vault are stored the anticlimaxes that should have 
been tagged to all the stories that have been told in 
the world. I shall cheat that vault of one deposit. 

Minnie Brown, with her aunt, came from Crocus- 
ville down to the city to see the sights. And because 
she had escorted me to Ashless trout streams and ex- 
hibited to me open-plumbed waterfalls and broken my 
camera while I Julyed in her village, I must escort her 
to the hives containing the synthetic clover honey of 
town. 

Especially did the custom-made Bohemia charm 
her. The spaghetti wound its tendrils about her 
heart; the free red wine drowned her belief in the 
existence of commercialism in the world ; she was dazed 
and enchanted by the rugose wit that can be churned 
out of California claret. 

But one evening I got her away from the smell of 
halibut and linoleum long enough to read to her the 
manuscript of this story, which then ended before her 
entrance into it. I read it to her because I knew that 
all the printing-presses in the world were running to 
try to please her and some others. And I asked her 
about it. 

[281] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" I didn't quite catch the trains/' said she. " How 
long was Mary in Crocusville? " 

" Ten hours and five minutes," I replied. 

"Well, then, the story may do," said Minnie. 
" But if she had stayed there a week Kappelman 
would have got his kiss." 



[282] 



THE FERRY OF UNFULFILMENT 

AT the street corner, as solid as granite in the " rush- 
hour " tide of humanity, stood the Man from Nome. 
The Arctic winds and sun had stained him berry- 
brown. His eye still held the azure glint of the 
glaciers. 

He was as alert as a fox, as tough as a caribou 
cutlet and as broad-gauged as the aurora borealis. 
He stood sprayed by a Niagara of sound — the crash 
of the elevated trains, clanging cars, pounding of 
rubberless tires and the antiphony of the cab and 
truck-drivers indulging in scarifying repartee. And 
so, with his gold dust cashed in to the merry air of a 
hundred thousand, and with the cakes and ale of one 
week in Gotham turning bitter on his tongue, the 
Man from Nome sighed to set foot again in Chilkoot, 
the exit from the land of street noises and Dead Sea 
apple pies. 

Up Sixth avenue, with the tripping, scurrying, 
chattering bright-eyed, homing tide came the Girl 
from Sieber-Mason's. The Man from Nome looked 
and saw, first, that she was supremely beautiful after 
his own conception of beauty; and next, that she 
moved with exactly the steady grace of a dog sled on 

[238] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

a level crust of snow. His third sensation was an in- 
stantaneous conviction that he desired her greatly for 
his own. This quickly do men from Nome make up 
their minds. Besides, he was going back to the North 
in a short time, and to act quickly was no less neces- 
sary. 

A thousand girls from the great department store 
of Sieber-Mason flowed along the sidewalk, making 
navigation dangerous to men whose feminine field of 
vision for three years has been chiefly limited to Si- 
wash and Chilkat squaws. But the Man from Nome, 
loyal to her who had resurrected his long cached heart, 
plunged into the stream of pulchritude and followed 
her. 

Down Twenty-third street she glided swiftly, look- 
ing to neither side ; no more flirtatious than the bronze 
Diana above the Garden. Her fine brown hair was 
neatly braided; her neat waist and unwrinkled black 
skirt were eloquent of the double virtues — taste and 
economy. Ten yards behind followed the smitten 
Man from Nome. 

Miss Claribel Colby, the Girl from Sieber-Mason's, 
belonged to that sad company of mariners known as 
Jersey commuters. She walked into the waiting-room 
of the ferry, and up the stairs, and by a marvellous 
swift, little run, caught the ferry-boat that was just 
going out. The Man from Nome closed up his ten 

[884] 



THE FERRY OF UNFULFILMENT 

yards in three jumps and gained the deck close beside 
her. 

Miss Colby chose a rather lonely seat on the out- 
side of the upper-cabin. The night was not cold, and 
she desired to be away from the curious eyes and tedi- 
ous voices of the passengers. Besides, she was ex- 
tremely weary and drooping from lack of sleep. On 
the previous night she had graced the annual ball and 
oyster fry of the West Side Wholesale Fish Dealers' 
Assistants' Social Club No. 2, thus reducing her usual 
time of sleep to only three hours. 

And the day had been uncommonly troublous. 
Customers had been inordinately trying; the buyer 
in her department had scolded her roundly for letting 
her stock run down; her best friend, Mamie Tuthill, 
had snubbed her by going to lunch with that Dockery 
girl. 

The Girl from Sieber-Mason's was in that relaxed, 
softened mood that often comes to the independent 
feminine wage-earner. It is a mood most propitious 
for the man who would woo her. Then she has 
yearnings to be set in some home and heart; to be 
comforted, and to hide behind some strong arm and 
rest, rest. But Miss Claribel Colby was also very 
sleepy. 

There came to her side a strong man, browned and 
dressed carelessly in the best of clothes, with his hat 
in his hand. 

[285] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" Lady," said the Man from Nome, respectfully, 
" excuse me for speaking to you, but I — I — I saw 
you on the street, and — and — " 

" Oh, gee ! " remarked the Girl from Sieber- 
Mason's, glancing up with the most capable coolness. 
" Ain't there any way to ever get rid of you mashers? 
I've tried everything from eating onions to using hat- 
pins. Be on your way, Freddie." 

" Fm not one of that kind, lady," said the Man 
from Nome — " honest, I'm not. As I say, I saw you 
on the street, and I wanted to know you so bad I 
couldn't help followin' after you. I was afraid I 
wouldn't ever see you again in this big town unless I 
spoke; and that's why I done so." 

Miss Colby looked once shrewdly at him in the dim 
light on the ferry-boat. No ; he did not have the per- 
fidious smirk or the brazen swagger of the lady-killer. 
Sincerity and modesty shone through his boreal tan. 
It seemed to her that it might be good to hear a little 
of what he had to say. 

" You may sit down," she said, laying her hand 
over a yawn with ostentatious politeness ; " and — 
mind — don't get fresh or I'll call the steward." 

The Man from Nome sat by her side. He admired 
her greatly. He more than admired her. She had 
exactly the looks he had tried so long in vain to find 
in a woman. Could she ever come to like him? Well, 

[286] 



THE FERRY OF UNFULFILMENT 

that was to be seen. He must do all in his power to 
stake his claim, anyhow. 

" My name's Blayden," said he — " Henry Blay- 
den." 

" Are you real sure it ain't Jones? " asked the girl, 
leaning toward him, with delicious, knowing raillery. 

" I'm down from Nome," he went on with anxious 
seriousness. " I scraped together a pretty good lot 
of dust up there, and brought it down with me." 

" Oh, say ! " she rippled, pursuing persiflage with 
engaging lightness, " then you must be on the White 
Wings force. I thought I'd seen you somewhere." 

" You didn't see me on the street to-day when I saw 
you." 

" I never look at fellows on the street." 

" Well, I looked at you ; and I never looked at any- 
thing before that I thought was half as pretty." 

" Shall I keep the change? " 

" Yes, I reckon so. I reckon you could keep any- 
thing I've got. I reckon I'm what you would call a 
rough man, but I could be awful good to anybody I 
liked. I've had a rough time of it up yonder, but I 
beat the game. Nearly 5,000 ounces of dust was 
what I cleaned up while I was there." 

" Goodness ! " exclaimed Miss Colby, obligingly 
sympathetic. " It must be an awful dirty place, 
wherever it is." 

And then her eyes closed. The voice of the Man 

[887] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

from Nome had a monotony in its very earnestness. 
Besides, what dull talk was this of brooms and sweep- 
ing and dust? She leaned her head back against the 
wall. 

" Miss," said the Man from Nome, with deeper 
earnestness and monotony, " I never saw anybody I 
liked as well as I do you. I know you can't think that 
way of me right yet; but can't you give me a chance? 
Won't you let me know you, and see if I can't make 
you like me?" 

The head of the Girl from Sieber-Mason's slid over 
gently and rested upon his shoulder. Sweet sleep had 
won her, and she was dreaming rapturously of the 
Wholesale Fish Dealers' Assistants' ball. 

The gentleman from Nome kept his arms to him- 
self. He did not suspect sleep, and yet he was too 
wise to attribute the movement to surrender. He was 
greatly and blissfully thrilled, but he ended by re- 
garding the head upon his shoulder as an encouraging 
preliminary, merely advanced as a harbinger of his 
success, and not to be taken advantage of. 

One small speck of alloy discounted the gold of his 
satisfaction. Had he spoken too freely of his wealth? 
He wanted to be liked for himself. 

" I want to say, Miss," he said, " that you can 
count on me. They know me in the Klondike from 
Juneau to Circle City and down the whole length of 
the Yukon. Many a night I've laid in the snow up 

[838] 



THE FERRY OF UNFULFILMENT 

there where I worked like a slave for three years, and 
wondered if I'd ever have anybody to like me, I 
didn't want all that dust just for myself. I thought 
I'd meet just the right one some time, and I done it 
to-day. Money's a mighty good thing to have, but 
to have the love of the one you like best is better still. 
If you was ever to marry a man, Miss, which would 
you rather he'd have? " 

"Cash!" 

The word came sharply and loudly from Miss Col- 
by's lips, giving evidence that in her dreams she was 
now behind her counter in the great department store 
of Sieber-Mason. 

Her head suddenly bobbed over sideways. She 
awoke, sat straight, and rubbed her eyes. The Man 
from Nome was gone. 

" Gee ! I believe I've been asleep," said Miss Colby. 
" Wonder what became of the White Wings ! " 



[889] 



THE TALE OF A TAINTED TENNER 

MONEY talks. But you may think that the con- 
versation of a little old ten-dollar bill in New York 
would be nothing more than a whisper. Oh, very 
well! Pass up this sotto voce autobiography of an 
X if you like. If you are one of the kind that pre- 
fers to listen to John D.'s checkbook roar at you 
through a megaphone as it passes by, all right. But 
don't forget that small change can say a word to the 
point now and then. The next time you tip your 
grocer's clerk a silver quarter to give you extra weight 
of his boss's goods read the four words above the 
lady's head. How are they for repartee? 

I am a ten-dollar Treasury note, series of 1901. 
You may have seen one in a friend's hand. On my 
face, in the centre, is a picture of the bison Ameri- 
canus, miscalled a buffalo by fifty or sixty millions of 
Americans. The heads of Capt. Lewis and Capt. 
Clark adorn the ends. On my back is the graceful 
figure of Liberty or Ceres or Maxine Elliott standing 
in the centre of the stage on a conservatory plant. 
My references is — or are — Section 8,588, Revised 
Statutes. Ten cold, hard dollars — I don't say 
whether silver, gold, lead or iron — Uncle Sam will 

[240] 



THE TALE OF A TAINTED TENNER 

hand you over his counter if you want to cash me in. 

I beg you will excuse any conversational breaks 
that I make — thanks, I knew you would — got that 
sneaking little respect and agreeable feeling toward 
even an X, haven't you? You see, a tainted bill 
doesn't have much chance to acquire a correct form 
of expression. I never knew a really cultured and 
educated person that could afford to hold a ten-spot 
any longer than it would take to do an Arthur Duffy 
to the nearest That's All ! sign or delicatessen store. 

For a six-year-old, I've had a lively and gorgeous 
circulation. I guess I've paid as many debts as the 
man who dies. I've been owned by a good many 
kinds of people. But a little old ragged, damp, 
dingy five-dollar silver certificate gave me a jar one 
day. I was next to it in the fat and bad-smelling 
purse of a butcher. 

" Hey, you Sitting Bull," says I, " don't scrouge 
so. Anyhow, don't you think it's about time you 
went in on a customs payment and got reissued? For 
a series of 1899 you're a sight." 

" Oh, don't get crackly just because you're a Buf- 
falo bill," says the fiver. " You'd be limp, too, if 
you'd been stuffed down in a thick cotton-and-lisle- 
thread under an elastic all day, and the thermometer 
not a degree under 85 in the store." 

" I never heard of a pocketbook like that," says I. 
" Who carried you? " 

[241] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" A shopgirl," says the five-spot. 

" What's that? " I had to ask. 

" You'll never know till their millennium comes," 
says the fiver. 

Just then a two-dollar bill behind me with a George 
Washington head, spoke up to the fiver : 

" Aw, cut out yer kicks. Ain't lisle thread good 
enough for yer? If you was under all cotton like 
I've been to-day, and choked up with factory dust till 
the lady with the cornucopia on me sneezed half a 
dozen times, you'd have some reason to complain.* 9 

That was the next day after I arrived in New York. 
I came in a $500 package of tens to a Brooklyn bank 
from one of its Pennsylvania correspondents — and I 
haven't made the acquaintance of any of the five and 
two spot's friends' pocketbooks yet. Silk for mine, 
every time. 

I was lucky money. I kept on the move. Some- 
times I changed hands twenty times a day. I saw 
the inside of every business ; I fought for my owner's 
every pleasure. It seemed that on Saturday nights I 
never missed being slapped down on a bar. Tens 
were always slapped down, while ones and twos were 
slid over to the bartenders folded. I got in the habit 
of looking for mine, and I managed to soak in a little 
straight or some spilled Martini or Manhattan when- 
ever I could. Once I got tied up in a great greasy, 
roll of bills in a pushcart peddler's jeans. I thought 

[242] 



THE TALE OF A TAINTED TENNER 

I never would get in circulation again, for the future 
department store owner lived on eight cents' worth 
of dog meat and onions a day. But this peddler got 
into trouble one day on account of having his cart 
too near a crossing, and I was rescued. I always will 
feel grateful to the cop that got me. He changed 
me at a cigar store near the Bowery that was running 
a crap game in the back room. So it was the Captain 
of the precinct, after all, that did me the best turn, 
when he got his. He blew me for wine the next even- 
ing in a Broadway restaurant; and I really felt as 
glad to get back again as an Astor does when he sees 
the lights of Charing Cross. 

A tainted ten certainly does get action on Broad- 
way. I was alimony once, and got folded in a little 
dogskin purse among a lot of dimes. They were 
bragging about the busy times there were in Ossin- 
ing whenever three girls got hold of one of them dur- 
ing the ice cream season. But it's Slow Moving Ve- 
hicles Keep to the Right for the little Bok tips when 
you think of the way we bison plasters refuse to stick 
to anything during the rush lobster hour. 

The first I ever heard of tainted money was one 
night when a good thing with a Van to his name threw 
me over with some other bills to buy a stack of blues. 

About midnight a big, easy-going man with a fat 
face like a monk's and the eye of a janitor with his 
wages raised took me and a lot of other notes and 

[248] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

rolled us into what is termed a " wad " among the 
money tainters. 

" Ticket me for five hundred," said he to the 
banker, " and look out for everything, Charlie. I'm 
going out for a stroll in the glen before the moonlight 
fades from the brow of the cliff. If anybody finds 
the roof in their way there's $60,000 wrapped in a 
comic supplement in the upper left-hand corner of the 
safe. Be bold ; everywhere be bold, but be not bowled 
over. 'Night." 

I found myself between two $20 gold certificates. 
One of 'em says to me: 

" Well, old shorthorn, you're in luck to-night. 
You'll see something of life. Old Jack's going to 
make the Tenderloin look like a hamburg steak." 

" Explain," says I. " I'm used to joints, but I 
don't care for filet mignon with the kind of sauce you 



serve." 



" 'Xcuse me," said the twenty. " Old Jack is the 
proprietor of this gambling house. He's going on a 
whiz to-night because he offered $50,000 to a church 
and it refused to accept it because they said his money 
was tainted." 

" What is a church ? " I asked. 

" Oh, I forgot," says the twenty, " that I was talk- 
ing to a tenner. Of course you don't know. You're 
too much to put into the contribution basket, and not 
enough to buy anything at a bazaar. A church is — 

[244] 



THE TALE OF A TAINTED TENNER 

a large building in which penwipers and tidies are 
sold at $20 each." 

I don't care much about chinning with gold cer- 
tificates. There's a streak of yellow in 'em. All is 
not gold that's quitters. 

Old Jack certainly was a gilt-edged sport. When 
it came his time to loosen up he never referred the 
waiter to an actuary. 

By and by it got around that he was smiting the 
rock in the wilderness ; and all along Broadway things 
with cold noses and hot gullets fell in on our trail. 
The third Jungle Book was there waiting for some- 
body to put covers on it. Old Jack's money may 
have had a taint to it, but all the same he had orders 
for his Camembert piling up on him every minute. 
First his friends rallied round him ; and then the fel- 
lows that his friends knew by sight; and then a few 
of his enemies buried the hatchet ; and finally he was 
buying souvenirs for so many Neapolitan fisher maid- 
ens and butterfly octettes that the head waiters were 
'phoning all over town for Julian Mitchell to please 
come around and get them into some kind of order. 

At last we floated into an uptown cafe that I knew 
by heart. When the hod-carriers' union in jackets 
and aprons saw us coming the chief goal kicker 
called out : " Six — eleven — forty-two — nineteen 
— twelve " to his men, and they put on nose guards 
till it was clear whether we meant Port Arthur or 

[245] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

Portsmouth. But Old Jack wasn't working for the 
furniture and glass factories that night. He sat 
down quiet and sang " Ramble " in a half-hearted 
way. His feelings had been hurt, so the twenty told 
me, because his offer to the church had been refused. 

But the wassail went on; and Brady himself 
couldn't have hammered the thirst mob into a better 
imitation of the real penchant for the stuff that you 
screw out of a bottle with a napkin. 

Old Jack paid the twenty above me for a round, 
leaving me on the outside of his roll. He laid the roll 
on the table and sent for the proprietor. 

" Mike," says he, " here's money that the good peo- 
ple have refused. Will it buy of your wares in the 
name of the devil? They say it's tainted." 

" I will," says Mike, " and I'll put it in the drawer 
next to the bills that was paid to the parson's daugh- 
ter for kisses at the church fair to build a new parson- 
age for the parson's daughter to live in." 

At 1 o'clock when the hod-carriers were making 
ready to close up the front and keep the inside open, 
a woman slips in the door of the restaurant and comes 
up to Old Jack's table. You've seen the kind — black 
shawl, creepy hair, ragged skirt, white face, eyes a 
cross between Gabriel's and a sick kitten's — the kind 
of woman that's always on the lookout for an automo- 
bile or the mendicancy squad — and she stands there 
without a word and looks at the money. 

[246] 



THE TALE OF A TAINTED TENNER 

Old Jack gets up, peels me off the roll and hands 
me to her with a bow. 

" Madam," says he, just like actors I've heard, 
" here is a tainted bill. I am a gambler. This bill 
came to me to-night from a gentleman's son. Where 
he got it I do not know. If you will do me the favor 
to accept it, it is yours." 

The woman took me with a trembling hand. 

" Sir," said she, " I counted thousands of this issue 
of bills into packages when they were virgin from 
the presses. I was a clerk in the Treasury Depart- 
ment. There was an official to whom I owed my po- 
sition. You say they are tainted now. If you only 
knew — but I won't say any more. Thank you with 
all my heart, sir — thank you — thank you." 

Where do you suppose that woman carried me al- 
most at a run? To a bakery. Away from Old Jack 
and a sizzling good time to a bakery. And I get 
changed, and she does a Sheridan-twenty-miles-away 
with a dozen rolls and a section of jelly cake as big as 
a turbine water-wheel. Of course I lost sight of her 
then, for I was snowed up in the bakery, wondering 
whether I'd get changed at the drug store the next 
day in an alum deal or paid over to the cement works. 

A week afterward I butted up against one of the 
one-dollar bills the baker had given the woman for 
change. 

[247] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" Hallo, E35039669," says I, " weren't you in the 
change for me in a bakery last Saturday night? " 

" Yep," says the solitaire in his free and easy style. 

" How did the deal turn out? " I asked. 

" She blew E17051481 for milk and round steak," 
says the one-spot. " She kept me till the rent man 
came. It was a bum room with a sick kid in it. But 
you ought to have seen him go for the bread and tinc- 
ture of formaldehyde. Half -starved, I guess. Then 
she prayed some. Don't get stuck up, tenner. We 
one-spots hear ten prayers, where you hear one. She 
said something about ' who giveth to the poor. 9 Oh, 
let's cut out the slum talk. I'm certainly tired of the 
company that keeps me. I wish I was big enough to 
move in society with you tainted bills." 

" Shut up," says I ; " there's no such thing. I 
know the rest of it. There's a ' lendeth to the Lord ' 
somewhere in it. Now look on my back and read 
what you see there." 

" This note is a legal tender at its face value for 
all debts public and private." 

" This talk about tainted money makes me tired," 
says I. 



[848] 



ELSIE IN NEW YORK 

NO, bumptious reader, this story is not a continua- 
tion of the Elsie series. But if your Elsie had lived 
over here in our big city there might have been a chap- 
ter in her books not very different from this. 

Especially for the vagrant feet of youth are the 
roads of Manhattan beset " tvith pitfall and with gin." 
But the civic guardians of the young have made them- 
selves acquainted with the snares of the wicked, and 
most of the dangerous paths are patrolled by their 
agents, who seek to turn straying ones away from the 
peril that menaces them. And this will tell you how 
they guided my Elsie safely through all peril to the 
goal that she was seeking. 

Elsie's father had been a cutter for Fox & Otter, 
cloaks and furs, on lower Broadway. ' He was an old 
man, with a slow and limping gait, so a pot-hunter 
of a newly licensed chauffeur ran him down one day 
when livelier game was scarce. They took the old 
man home, where he lay on his bed for a year and 
then died, leaving $2.50 in cash and a letter from Mr. 
Otter offering to do anything he could to help his 
faithful old employee. The old cutter regarded this 
letter as a valuable legacy to his daughter, and he 

[249] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

put it into her hands with pride as the shears of the 
dread Cleaner and Repairer shipped off his thread of 
life. 

That was the landlord's cue; and forth he came 
and did his part in the great eviction scene. There 
was no snowstorm ready for Elsie to steal out into, 
drawing her little red woollen shawl about her shoul- 
ders, but she went out, regardless of the unities. And 
as for the red shawl — back to Blaney with it! El- 
sie's fall tan coat was cheap, but it had the style and 
fit of the best at Fox & Otter's. And her lucky stars 
had given her good looks, and eyes as blue and inno- 
cent as the new shade of note paper, and she had $1 
left of the $2.50. And the letter from Mr. Otter. 
Keep your eye on the letter from Mr. Otter. That is 
the clue. I desire that everything be made plain as 
we go. Detective stories are so plentiful now that 
they do not sell. 

And so we find Elsie, thus equipped, starting out 
in the world to seek her fortune. One trouble about 
the letter from Mr. Otter was that it did not bear the 
new address of the firm, which had moved about a 
month before. But Elsie thought she could find it. 
She had heard that policemen, when politely addressed, 
or thumbscrewed by an investigation committee, will 
give up information and addresses. So she boarded 
a downtown car at One Hundred and Seventy-seventh 
street and rode south to Forty-second, which she 

[250] 



ELSIE IN NEW YORK 

thought must surely be the end of the island. There 
she stood against the wall undecided, for the city's 
roar and dash was new to her. Up where she had 
lived was rural New York, so far out that the milkmen 
awaken you in the morning by the squeaking of 
pumps instead of the rattling of cans. 

A kind-faced, sunburned young man in a soft- 
brimmed hat went past Elsie into the Grand Central 
Depot. That was Hank Ross, of the Sunflower 
Ranch, in Idaho, on his way home from a visit to 
the East. Hank's heart was heavy, for the Sun- 
flower Ranch was a lonesome place, lacking the pres- 
ence of a woman. He had hoped to find one during 
his visit who would congenially share his prosperity 
and home, but the girls of Gotham had not pleased 
his fancy. But, as he passed in, he noted, with a 
jumping of his pulses, the sweet, ingenuous face of 
Elsie and her pose of doubt and loneliness. With 
true and honest Western impulse he said to himself 
that here was his mate. He could love her, he knew ; 
and he would surround her with so much comfort, and 
cherish her so carefully that she would be happy, and 
make two sunflowers grow on the ranch where there 
grew but one before. 

Hank turned and went back to her. Backed by his 
never before questioned honesty of purpose, he ap- 
proached the girl and removed his soft-brimmed hat. 
Elsie had but time to sum up his handsome frank face 

[261] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

with one shy look of modest admiration when a burly 
cop hurled himself upon the ranchman, seized him by, 
the collar and backed him against the wall. Two 
blocks away a burglar was coming out of an apart- 
ment-house with a bag of silverware on his shoulder; 
but that is neither here nor there. 

" Carry on yez mashin' tricks right before me eyes, 
will yez? " shouted the cop. " I'll teach yez to speak 
to ladies on me beat that ye're not acquainted with. 
Come along." 

Elsie turned away with a sigh as the ranchman 
was dragged away. She had liked the effect of his 
light blue eyes against his tanned complexion. She 
walked southward, thinking herself already in the dis- 
trict where her father used to work, and hoping to 
find some one who could direct her to the firm of Fox 
& Otter. 

But did she want to find Mr. Otter? She had in- 
herited much of the old cutter's independence. How 
much better it would be if she could find work and 
support herself without calling on him for aid ! 

Elsie saw a sign " Employment Agency " and went 
in. Many girls were sitting against the wall in 
chairs. Several well-dressed ladies were looking them 
over. One white-haired, kind-faced old lady in rust- 
ling black silk hurried up to Elsie. 

" My dear," she said in a sweet, gentle voice, " are 
you looking for a position? I like your face and ap- 

[252] 



ELSIE IN NEW YORK 

pearance so much. I want a young woman who will 
be half maid and half companion to me. You will 
have a good home and I will pay you $30 a month." 

Before Elsie could stammer forth her gratified ac- 
ceptance, a young woman with gold glasses on her 
bony nose and her hands in her jacket pockets seized 
her arm and drew her aside. 

"lam Miss Ticklebaum," said she, " of the Asso- 
ciation for the Prevention of Jobs Being Put Up on 
Working Girls Looking for Jobs. We prevented 
forty-seven girls from securing positions last week. 
I am here to protect you. Beware of any one who 
offers you a job. How do you know that this woman 
does not want to make you work as a breaker-boy in 
a coal mine or murder you to get your teeth? If 
you accept work of any kind without permission of 
our association you will be arrested by one of our 
agents." 

" But what am I to do? " asked Elsie. " I have no 
home or money. I must do something. Why am I 
not allowed to accept this kind lady's offer? " 

" I do not know," said Miss Ticklebaum. " That 
is the affair of our Committee on the Abolishment of 
Employers. It is my duty simply to see that you do 
not get work. You will give me your name and ad- 
dress and report to our secretary every Thursday. 
We have 600 girls on the waiting list who will in time 
be allowed to accept positions as vacancies occur on 

[2531 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

our roll of Qualified Employers, which now comprises 
twenty-seven names. There is prayer, music and 
lemonade in our chapel the third Sunday of every 
month." 

Elsie hurried away after thanking Miss Ticklebaum 
for her timely warning and advice. After all, it 
seemed that she must try to find Mr. Otter. 

But after walking a few blocks she saw a sign, 
" Cashier wanted," in the window of a confectionery 
store. In she went and applied for the place, after 
casting a quick glance over her shoulder to assure 
herself that the job-preventer was hot on her trail. 

The proprietor of the confectionery was a benevo- 
lent old man with a peppermint flavor, who decided, 
after questioning Elsie pretty closely, that she was the 
very girl he wanted. Her services were needed at 
once, so Elsie, with a thankful heart, drew off her tan 
coat and prepared to mount the cashier's stool. 

But before she could do so a gaunt lady wearing 
steel spectacles and black mittens stood before her, 
with a long finger pointing, and exclaimed : " Young 
woman, hesitate ! " 

Elsie hesitated. 

" Do you know," said the black-and-steel lady, 
"that in accepting this position you may this day 
cause the loss of a hundred lives in agonizing physical 
torture and the sending as many souls to perdition? " 

£254] 



ELSIE IN NEW YORK 

" Why, no," said Elsie, in frightened tones. 
"How could I do that?" 

" Rum," said the lady — " the demon rum. Do 
you know why so many lives are lost when a theatre 
catches fire? Brandy balls. The demon rum lurking 
in brandy balls. Our society women while in thea- 
tres sit grossly intoxicated from eating these candies 
filled with brandy. When the fire fiend sweeps down 
upon them they are unable to escape. The candy 
stores are the devil's distilleries. If you assist in the 
distribution of these insidious confections you assist in 
the destruction of the bodies and souls of your fellow- 
beings, and in the filling of our jails, asylums and 
almshouses. Think, girl, ere you touch the money for 
which brandy balls are sold. 

" Dear me," said Elsie, bewildered. " I didn't 
know there was rum in brandy balls. But I must live 
by some means. What shall I do? " 

" Decline the position," said the lady, " and come 
with me. I will tell you what to do." 

After Elsie had told the confectioner that she had 
changed her mind about the cashiership she put on 
her coat and followed the lady to the sidewalk, where 
awaited an elegant victoria. 

" Seek some other work," said the black-and-steel 
lady, "and assist in crushing the hydra-headed de- 
mon rum." And she got into the victoria and drove 
away. 

[»55] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

" I guess that puts it up to Mr. Otter again," said 
Elsie, ruefully, turning down the street. " And I'm 
sorry, too, for I'd much rather make my way without 
help." 

Near Fourteenth street Elsie saw a placard tacked 
on the side of a doorway that read : " Fifty girls, neat 
sewers, wanted immediately on theatrical costumes. 
Good pay." 

She was about to enter, when a solemn man, dressed 
all in black, laid his hand on her arm. 

" My dear girl," he said, " I entreat you not to en- 
ter that dressing-room of the devil." 

" Goodness me ! " exclaimed Elsie, with some impa- 
tience. " The devil seems to have a cinch on all the 
business in New York. What's wrong about the 
place?" 

" It is here," said the solemn man, " that the re- 
galia of Satan — in other words, the costumes worn 
on the stage — are manufactured. The stage is the 
road to ruin and destruction. Would you imperil 
your soul by lending the work of your hands to its 
support? Do you know, my dear girl, what the thea- 
tre leads to? Do you know where actors and actresses 
go after the curtain of the playhouse has fallen upon 
them for the last time? " 

" Sure," said Elsie. " Into vaudeville. But do 
you think it would be wicked for me to make a little 

[856] 



ELSIE IN NEW YORK 

money to live on by sewing? I must get something 
to do pretty soon." 

" The flesh-pots of Egypt," exclaimed the rever- 
end gentleman, uplifting his hands. " I beseech you, 
my child, to turn away from this place of sin and in- 
iquity." 

" But what will I do for a living? " asked Elsie. 
" I don't care to sew for this musical comedy, if it's 
as rank as you say it is; but I've got to have a job." 

" The Lord will provide," said the solemn man. 
" There is a free Bible class every Sunday afternoon 
in the basement of the cigar store next to the church. 
Peace be with you. Amen. Farewell." 

Elsie went on her way. She was soon in the down- 
town district where factories abound. On a large 
brick building' was a gilt sign, " Posey & Trimmer, 
Artificial Flowers." Below it was hung a newly 
stretched canvas bearing the words, " Five hundred 
girls wanted to learn trade. Good wages from the 
start. Apply one flight up." 

Elsie started toward the door, near which were 
gathered in groups some twenty or thirty girls. One 
big girl with a black straw hat tipped down over her 
eyes stepped in front of her. 

" Say, you'se," said the girl, " are you'se goin' in 
there after a job? " 

" Yes," said Elsie ; " I must have work." 

" Now, don't do it," said the girl. " I'm chairman 

[257] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

of our Scab Committee. There's 400 of us girls 
locked out just because we demanded 50 cents a week 
raise in wages, and ice water, and for the foreman to 
shave off his mustache. You're too nice a looking girl 
to be a scab. Wouldn't you please help us along by 
trying to find a job somewhere else, or would you'se 
rather have your face pushed in? " 

" I'll try somewhere else," said Elsie. 

She walked aimlessly eastward on Broadway, and 
there her heart leaped to see the sign, " Fox & Ot- 
ter," stretching entirely across the front of a tall 
building. It was as though an unseen guide had led 
her to it through the by-ways of her fruitless search 
for work. 

She hurried into the store and sent in to Mr. Otter 
by a clerk her name and the letter he had written her 
father. She was shown directly into his private office. 

Mr. Otter arose from his desk as Elsie entered and 
took both hands with a hearty smile of welcome. He 
was a slightly corpulent man of nearly middle age, 
a little bald, gold spectacled, polite, well dressed, radi- 
ating. 

" Well, well, and so this is Beatty's little daughter! 
Your father was one of our most efficient and valued 
employees. He left nothing? Well, well. I hope 
we have not forgotten his faithful services. I am 
sure there is a vacancy now among our models. Oh, 
it is easy work — nothing easier." 

[858] 



ELSIE IN NEW YORK 

Mr. Otter struck a bell. A long-nosed clerk thrust 
a portion of himself inside the door. 

" Send Miss Hawkins in," said Mr. Otter. Miss 
Hawkins came. 

" Miss Hawkins," said Mr. Otter, " bring for Miss 
Beatty to try on one of those Russian sable coats and 
— let's see — one of those latest model black tulle hats 
with white tips." 

Elsie stood before the full-length mirror with pink 
cheeks and quick breath. Her eyes shone like faint 
stars. She was beautiful. Alas! she was beautiful. 

I wish I could stop this story here. Confound it ! 
I will. No ; it's got to run it out. I didn't make it 
up. I'm just repeating it. 

I'd like to throw bouquets at the wise cop, and the 
lady who rescues Girls from Jobs, and the prohibi- 
tionist who is trying to crush brandy balls, and the 
sky pilot who objects to costumes for stage people 
(there are others), and all the thousands of good peo- 
ple who are at work protecting young people from 
the pitfalls of a great city; and then wind up by 
pointing out how they were the means of Elsie reach- 
ing her father's benefactor and her kind friend and 
rescuer from poverty. This would make a fine Elsie 
story of the old sort. I'd like to do this ; but there's 
just a word or two to follow. 

While Elsie was admiring herself in the mirror, Mr. 

[259] 



THE TRIMMED LAMP 

Otter went to the telephone booth and called up some 
number. Don't ask me what it was. 

" Oscar," said he, " I want you to reserve the same 
table for me this evening. . . . What? Why, 
the one in the Moorish room to the left of the shrub- 
bery. . . . Yes; two. . . . Yes, the usual 
brand; and the '85 Johannisburger with the roast. 
If it isn't the right temperature I'll break your neck. 
. . . No; not her . . . No, indeed . . 
A new one — a peacherino, Oscar, a peacherino ! " 

Tired and tiresome reader, I will conclude, if you 
please, with a paraphrase of a few words that you will 
remember were written by him — by him of Gad's 
Hill, before whom, if you doff not your hat, you shall 
stand with a covered pumpkin — aye, sir, a pumpkin. 

Lost, Your Excellency. Lost, Associations and So- 
cieties. Lost, Right Reverends and Wrong Rever- 
ends of every order. Lost, Reformers and Lawmak- 
ers, born with heavenly compassion in your hearts, but 
with the reverence of money in your souls. And lost 
thus around us every day. 



THE END. 



[260] 



THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




UMVEMfTY OF MICHIGAN 








3 9015 03071 0902